Reviewed by Kathy Parsons
“Lost Arts” is the debut CD from pianist Mark Melni, and is a compilation of piano solos he composed over the past thirty years. Due in part to the span of time covered by the music, this CD is something of a musical autobiography, and there are several different styles of music included, some upbeat and jazzy with other pieces a bit more introspective and calming. There is no chronology listed, which isn’t terribly important, but it would be interesting to know if the pieces are presented in any kind of order. Melni’s piano has a warm, rich sound that serves his engaging playing style well. Melni successfully blends jazz and classical influences, creating a musical voice that is uniquely his own.
The CD opens with “Eternity,” a lovely, flowing piece that greets the listener with a warm invitation to explore the musical world of this artist. “Phrygian” is a more energetic jazz piece with complex rhythms and harmonies and just a touch of mystery. “Echoes of Eden” is dreamier with a slight edge. “Christopher” has the feeling of a jazz standard – laid back and playful. “Tina’s Wedding” is one of my favorites. Warm and full of love, this gentle piece conveys the mix of emotions felt at the wedding of someone close – hope, joy, reflection, and just a touch of sadness. “Lost Art” is another favorite. Its graceful melody is sweetly nostalgic, harkening back to a simpler time. “Child of Grace” is hymn-like – simple, direct, and very heartfelt. “San Sebastian” is another beauty. Relaxed but rhythmic, it starts out in a very minimalistic style and gathers momentum as it builds. “Romanian Reverie” is my favorite track. Haunting and reflective, the flowing melody is both graceful and passionate. “Farewell My Son” is a tender close to a most impressive album.
I hope Mark Melni doesn’t wait another thirty years to release a follow-up to “Lost Arts”! It is available from cdbaby.com.