Tag Archives: CD

Sarah Eyden: Love Is In The Room

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In June 2018, UK based session singer and concert artist Sarah Eyden has released a beautiful album called “Love Is In The Room”.

It is a collection of original songs written by English award-winning composer, singer and actor Denis King and arranged by Denis and Sarah for small ensemble – piano, bass, drums and Sarah on vocals.

Denis King began his musical career at the age of thirteen with his two older brothers, Mike and Tony, in one of the most successful pop groups of the 1950s and 1960s, The King Brothers — considered to be Britain’s first boy band. Denis played the piano, Mike the guitar and Tony the double bass.

In the 1970s Denis studied orchestration and had his first success writing the music for “The Adventures of Black Beauty”, a television series which I remember from my childhood. He has continued to work in the television business and to date, he has created themes and incidental music for over two hundred television series. He also worked as a theatrical composer, musical composer and performing artist.

Sarah Eyden is usually the person who lends her voice to produce the perfect film soundtrack. The list of appearances on those productions is endless and includes basically all blockbusters like “Harry Potter”, “Pirates of The Caribbean” and “Shrek”. She is also a performing artist but typically with larger ensembles like symphony orchestras.

Sarah explained to me: “Denis and I met in 2017 on a Saga Cruise. We were both performing separately, and met up in the bar to sing songs around the piano. We found an instant connection musically and when we left the ship kept in touch.”

Sarah created a small video with some more details:

Out of this loose connection grew a collaboration where Denis King literally started digging in his bottom drawer to rescue songs which seemed to be waiting there for Sarah to sing them and they decided to do an album.

Sarah adds: “Then as we progressed musically we thought it would be great to invite some amazing players to join us. But to keep it small so easy to tour.” The result is “Love Is In The Room”, Sarah Eyden on vocals, Denis King on piano, Dave Olney on bass and Mike Smith on drums. The album contains 14 songs in total, the title song comes in an English and as encore in a French version.

The album is like an unplugged song book, really back to the basics of a song, its harmonies and lyrics, no wrapping in fancy arrangements has been done, this album captures the essence of each song. The booklet that comes with the CD gives some additional information about each tune, the lyricist, when and for which occasion it was written and when it was recorded before, so a lot of material to discover.

The album starts with “Here And Now” a very energetic swing tune, that prepares us for the things to come with Sarah singing: “Let’s get the party started here and now.”

“The Joke’s On Me” is a sad song about the end of a relationship presented in a humorous way, nice and easy swinging.

“By The Way” is a soft ballad, another sad love song, with sweet rhymes, a pleasure to listen, my first highlight on the album.

“The Crazy Part” is arranged in Latin-style and gives a lovely variety after the three swing tunes.

“Who Would Have Dreamed”  is a freely played ballad with piano and vocals introduction, later with bass and just a little bit of drums accompaniment. This ballad has quite complex harmonic changes which are mastered perfectly by Sarah.

“Something You Learn To Live” is a groovy pop song, very entertaining, my second favorite on the album.

“Love Is In The Room”, the title song of the album comes next. A ballad, starting with piano and vocals only. The song has great dynamics and we can enjoy Sarah’s clear voice and impeccable intonation.

The band returns to straight swing style with “I’m Nobody’s April Fool”. Witty lyrics, and very relaxed sung. Excellent swinging by bass and drums during the piano solo.

“How About” is another ballad this time with piano and vocals only which gives Sarah Eyden another opportunity to deliver a brilliant performance.

“Never Feel The Same Again” might make a great pop song, we hear backing vocals from Sarah Eyden and Anna Ross, surprising and a nice soul-topping for this song.

“The World Was Changed This Morning” is a relaxed swinging tune. It was written for a musical and it has this special musical-touch, a wonderful entertaining tune with a committed and convincing Sarah Eyden.

“The Lady’s Still Around” starts as a soft ballad with piano and vocals. Bass and drums support Sarah when she reaches the peak of this song. Great dynamics and another opportunity for Sarah to show her mastery.

The last highlight of the album is “Two of A Kind”. We are surprised by Sarah Eyden and Denis King in an amusing duet.  Perfect entertainment and big fun for singers and audience.

As an encore we hear “Love Is In The Room” in French as “L’amour bienvenue chez nous”. The arrangement is identical to the English version but it is a nice homage to all the French chanson singers.

As said before, this album is an excellent unplugged songbook with music from Denis King who is an experienced and inventive composer, very much based in the tradition of musical composers like Cole Porter or George Gershwin. The songs on the album are all perfectly played and presented. As you can see from the cover, this music requires a special classy ambiance, but it is more than just background music in hotel bar. You should listen to these songs in a concert, because Sarah Eyden is able to sing clearly and precisely and that allows you catch the funny or profound lyrics.

If you’re out looking for new and undiscovered songs, here is your chance to find another treasure box.

Sarah Eyden and Denis King have produced a nice promotional video:

This project has it’s own website. I guess any public appearances will be listed there. Sarah told me that there are plans to go on tour in 2019.
https://www.loveisintheroom.com/

Denis King has a website where you find audio samples of many of his songs including some lovely big band arrangements of some of the songs from the album:
http://www.deniskingmusiclibrary.com/showContent.aspx?id=69

And finally a playlist on Spotify:

Jon Sheckler Trio: Cityscapes

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A brand new album comes from drummer and composer Jon Sheckler. It’s called “Cityscapes” and it features

  • Steve Denny – Fender Rhodes
  • Aron Caceres-  Double Bass
  • Jon Sheckler – Drums

Official release date was October 19 and Jon Sheckler celebrated it with a release show at the Nublu Classic. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

This album has a special setup: all songs have been written by drummer Jon Sheckler and sound is dominated by a Fender Rhodes.

I have to admit that the Fender Rhodes piano is one of my personal favorites. For me, it still has this modern electric sound compared to a piano or grand piano. So good preconditions for me to listen to this album.

The first song “Right Side Up” starts with an easy and melodic theme with nice rhythmic breaks, played very relaxed in medium-up tempo.  The first solo goes to the piano, Steve Denny gets great support from Jon Sheckler and Aron Caceres stays focused. A bass solo with nice interplay with the piano comes next. Jon Sheckler plays the last solo of this tune. His excellent drums solo is straight and dynamic at the same time. Jon says about that song:  “I wanted the first track to be an example of the whole album.  It has a good singable melody that seems less complicated then it is.  You don’t really feel the key changes and abnormal form.” And yes, this first song sets the stage for the whole album. It lasts a little bit over 7 minutes but is entertaining and diversified.

“Cold Reading” is the second tune. It has a much slower and heavier groove. It becomes softer for a extensive bass solo and tension rises with the piano solo that follows. The song ends with a very nice and dynamic outro.

The song “Junction Junction” is one of my favorites on the album. It is a 24-bars moll blues played in up-tempo. We hear a great piano solo, where Steve Denny is again fully supported by bass and drums and then Jon gets his chance to shine with a another perfect drums solo.

The title song “Cityscapes” comes next. This is not really just a song only, it’s more like a suite. It has three different parts plus a drum solo between the second and third part. The first part lasts about 4 minutes, the second goes for 5 minutes, followed by the drums solo of about 2:30 minutes before the final part comes.  The total playtime of this masterpiece is 15:47 minutes. Jon gives more details: “The three sections each represent a neighborhood in New York and New Orleans. The first section is based around Ridgewood in Queens, the second is inspired by Midtown Manhattan and the final act is meant to sound like the Garden District in New Orleans. The tune is so sprawling and the title invokes so much imagery that it had to be the foundation of the record.” The Ridgewood-section is quite contemplative and features Aron Caceres on bass. Midtown Manhattan starts soft before it really picks up and ends with piano and drums enlivening each other. The drums solo leads over to the Garden District part which is a sunny, almost Caribbean theme played with variations by the piano.

The album continues with the tune “CBR”. Another highlight for me. A neat theme played in straight swinging style in the sound of a Jazz standard. Piano and bass play very good solos and the drummer has two 8-bar solo breaks, in typical jam style.

“Each Others”, a beautiful ballad, comes next.  According to Jon it is one of the songs that are “landing very well” with the audience. Especially the bass solo is very catchy.

The last tune on the album is “3rd Floor Walk Up”. A steady 7/8 groove lays the foundation of this song. Steve Denny takes again the opportunity to play a fantastic piano solo and Jon Sheckler follows with an impressive and very dynamic drums solo. The song and the album fade out with a pulsating bass. Very cool.

“Cityscapes” is an excellent album with a distinct sound. The Fender Rhodes piano creates this special and unique touch. All compositions have tonal centers and give the listener an easy access to the songs. The musicians are masters on their instruments and manage the up-tempo tunes in a very relaxed and easy way. The interplay is also remarkable and shows that these guys have spent a lot of time together and understand each other very well. So a clear recommendation from my side.

More information about upcoming shows are found on Jon’s website: https://www.shecklermusic.com/

And finally a playlist on Spotify: