If you ask recording artists of any genre what their primary goal is with any specific project, they will no doubt tell you it’s not only to inspire, but create meaningful, impactful connections with longtime fans and listeners new to their music. Like many new age artists, multiple award winning flutist Sherry Finzer has, over the course of nearly 30 solo and collaborative albums since 2006, taken this concept to a realm where the focus is on calming, soothing and most of all, healing.
Though she launched her impressionistic solo meditation “naked flute” series - inspired by the resonant improvisational recordings by chief influence Paul Horn – with Transcendence in 2019, the ongoing physical, emotional and spiritual ravages of the pandemic has made her music even more essential and life giving than ever. Her third collection in this series Connections could not come at a better time, as we’re collectively faced with yet another infectious variant and the very real possibility that in some form or another, COVID-19 and its life altering twists and turns may be with us for a great long while.
Appropriately enough, the Connections that Finzer creates over the course of these spacious and gloriously transcendent tracks – are far more than the generic threads all artists share with fans. From the hypnotic, dreamy and mystical (and mission establishing) opener “Resilience” through the airy and slightly percussive sacredness of “Journey With Spirit,” each track was created as a soulful improvisation for a specific person, living or no longer with us physically, based on an intimate connection fostered during her many livestreams on the popular Insight Timer meditation app.
Since joining in 2020 (during the early phase of the pandemic), she learned just how much her music meant to her longtime listeners – and then in real time, how these livestream performances were helping them with a wide array of life issues, from the grieving process and letting go of stress to improving sleep and alleviating physical pain. The concept for Connections evolved from Finzer’s profound gratitude for the opportunity to connect so intimately with these people, as a way to give back to them.
In many ways, she considers the people she created these powerful solo flute gems for collaborators. To her, they were more than just names. The creation process found her learning about their lives, talking to them or their loved ones (for improvs on behalf of those departed), and even asked which of her countless flutes they liked. Her main goal was simply a gift – pieces created from love that they would enjoy and want to listen to over and over again. While recording each piece, she would look at each person’s photo for ongoing inspiration, then thank them when it was done. Even as she gave of herself, Finzer admits that one of the great joys was the opportunity to learn so much about herself and others, and along the way becoming more compassionate, patient and understanding as she realized that “we are all connected in some way.”
By design, Connections is the type of sweeping, epic recording whose enjoyment, enrichment and inspiration is best left not to objective reviewers who might comment on the merits of the music, but to the souls whose circumstances need its healing, transformative touch. So while I might most enjoy the atmospheric vibe and high-toned whimsy of “Pete’s Journey,” the gently echoing chill energy of a warm “Homecoming,” a darker, moody and mysterious peek “Through The Veil” and the cautious hope and promise of “A New Day,” others might find their hearts and spirits moved by any of the other pieces.
For maximum effect, and to soothe any fears, anxieties and ongoing wounds, Connections is best experienced as a 78 minute whole. Finzer’s dedication to us fans merits our taking this time to feel whatever it is we are supposed to feel. Feel free to add a track or two to a meditation playlist, but understand that in its grandeur and totality Connections is the ultimate playlist for whatever your needs are.
An important sonic element that must be noted is the fact that Connections is Finzer’s third album to be recorded at The Tank (www.tanksounds.org). For those so inclined, the site can give you the fascinating history of this facility in Rangely, CO. Suffice to say that it was originally built as a water cistern for the Rio Grande railroad system, but was never used until the local electric company purchased it for their use. After learning the hill they relocated on would collapse if filled with water, it was once again abandoned until discovered by sound engineer Bruce Odland. It is now a longtime destination recording and performance space, with a natural reverb that Finzer likens to the Taj Mahal.
Listen to Connections here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3it7hqsNPi6YrZjpWAU5W2