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  • Jonathan Widran


You can feel the emotional and spiritual uplift from the first lilting notes of “Spirit of Hope,” the title track to multi-faceted pianist/composer Kaveh Karandish’s elegant and easy grooving new album. It’s a dreamlike, gently hypnotic song that soars on the elegantly entwined passions of Karandish’s flowing piano, Mark Goldenberg’s lush acoustic guitar and Eric Zang’s ethereal floating kaval (a chromatic end blown flute).

Accept the subsequent invite to journey along Karandish’s inspiring, richly percussive, string-caressed path, and you’ll feel his loving touch via a slow reveal driven by an artful and exotic blend of intimate expressions and sweeping high energy adventures. At a time we most need it, that hope springs eternal as Karandish graciously takes us from the laid back bluesy glimpse of an “Infinite Horizon” to the classically influenced, vocally kissed “Sacrifice of Sovembica” (inspired by his trip to Russia to attend the World Cup in 2018) and the lighthearted, whimsical “Awakenings” (featuring brother Maz Karandish’s oud and Yara Amirbahonar’s violin).

Once soul-energized, you’ll definitely connect with the deep sense of “Gratitude” he shares as a soft-spoken coda showing just how deeply the heart can express itself without words getting in the way. Composed as a tribute to the legendary Kitaro, the piece is driven by the powerful chemistry of the piano and kaval, with touches of seductive bells), offering a truly ethereal experience which makes us grateful even amidst the uncertainty and despair we may be feeling.

As lovely and mystical as the album cover of a white piano and dove are, it’s best not to judge the scope and vibe of a project by its packaging. For those new to the majestic Karandish experience, the wording at the bottom says, “Instrumental New Age Music for Piano and Orchestra.” That’s the foundation of what he presents but it’s far from just easy listening. It grooves often like smooth jazz and at times extends into dynamic global fusion territory.

Helping Karandish achieve his bold vision are his producers, Grammy nominee Elliot Lanam - who helmed Silent Whispers - and Farzin Farhadi, who played sax on that earlier release. A healer by profession (he’s an MD) as well, he says, “The diversity of the compositions and the unique sounds of each musician on the album reflect my vision of a better, brighter world where we emphasize our common bonds rather than our differences.” This should always be the goal of humanity, but in the unusual cultural and sociopolitical landscape of 2020, it feels truly revolutionary.


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