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Friday, November 21, 2008

Review: Brian Kelly - Afterplay

Brian Kelly - Afterplay
2008, Skylight Music

Brian Kelly is a pianist and composer who trips lightly through the worlds of jazz, neo-classical and new age music. His early influences ranged from the likes of Beethoven to the Beatles, and these early influences continue to effect his compositional decisions even today. Kelly’s second CD, Afterplay, resides firmly in the contemporary jazz category. Supported by musicians such as Eric Crystal (Boz Scaggs, Omar Sosa); David Rokeach (Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles); Viviana Guzman and James Robinson, among others, Kelly has crafted a fine collection of contemporary popular jazz compositions.

Afterplay opens with River Rush, a modern piece that's almost more pop than jazz. The urgent melody line eats this song up somewhat in a downpour of themes. Smiling South is a Caribbean flavored piano tune full of big, catchy, ear-candy themes. New Vision is a light pop tune that incorporates Spanish Guitar, Latin rhythms and a funky bass line over a mellow piano bed. Snowflakes rising may be the highlight of the album, using what sounds like a dulcimer and piano mix in the opening to create an almost visual rhythm that's reminiscent of raindrops more than snow. Other highlights include the funky Flavor Seven; the title track Afterplay; Celtic Fire and Sunchaser.

Brian Kelly is a talented instrumentalist and composer. His brand of new age pop is catchy and comfortable without being cliché. This isn't elevator music but more the sort of upbeat mellow music that makes an environment or event more enjoyable and memorable. Brian Kelly has something to say, whispered just below hearing around the staves and measures he writes. Check out Afterplay, and listen.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Brian Kelly at, where you can purchase Afterplay as either a hard copy CD or a download.

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