All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: Fiona Joy Hawkins - Blue Dream

Fiona Joy Hawkins – Blue Dream
2008, Little Hartley Music

Fiona Joy Hawkins turns heads every time she sits down at the piano and starts to play. The Australian composer/pianist mixes classical themes with jazz and world sounds and rhythms in a form of musical alchemy you have to hear to believe. Her latest recording, Blue Dream, is remarkable to listen to, and the supporting cast is indicative of the sort of respect Hawkins commands in the industry. Produced by William Ackerman (Founder of Windham Hill Records); Blue Dream features guest/supporting performances by Luka Bloom, T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates), Heather Rankin (The Rankin Family), Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter), Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny) and Jeff Oster.

Blue Dream plays like a cross between ballet and musical theater. Lyric in composition and quiet in attitude, Blue Dream tells a musical story as if speaking in a dream. Hawkins is fearless in her musical exploration, giving no quarter to musical ideas but pulling them fully into the light of day and embedding them deep in the musical tapestry she weaves. Freedom opens Blue Dream like a sunrise inching over the horizon, illuminating the musical horizon in half-light and shadow. Feeling Sunshine is a vibrant picture of a world waking up. The dominant melody line of Feeling Sunshine kept calling to mind Lyrics from Wicked’s Defying Gravity. Fans of the show will get it.

From The Outside is one of my personal favorites on Blue Dream, with the piano sketching a sad yet hopeful figure standing just out of reach of his/her dreams. Blue Dream is a gorgeous composition buoyed by a lovely yet dark string arrangement. Samite’s Interlude is one of the more intriguing compositions here, focusing primarily on wooden flute, voice and percussion. This song has a disturbing, dream-like quality to it that really stands out. Song Phonique is another strong offering; a piano piece that builds in intensity and complexity until it spills over into a lovely mix of African rhythms, piano and voice. The song resolves back to piano before re-inventing itself as a modern, Eastern-European madrigal carried by violin and an angelic female vocal. Other highlights include Voice Of Angels, Prelude To A Painting and Somewhere.

Fiona Joy Hawkins gas gained the confidence and respect of the folks mentioned here for a reason. She’s that good, and she’s not afraid to take chances in her music. Blue Dream is an epic composition that will stand the test of time. Hawkins has previously been recognized with a Best Piano Album award by the NAR Lifestyle Music Awards (2006) and the best Classical/Jazz Album award from the MusicOz Awards (2008). Her prior releases have all spent time at #1 on the World New Age Radio Charts, but Blue Dream is the album that should cement her reputation internationally. Here you may witness a creative and performance genius hitting the top of her game.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Fiona Joy Hawkins at You can purchase a copy of Blue Dream at her site or at The album is also available for download on iTunes.

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