(Reviewed by RJ Lannan (Zone Music Reporter))
I love my writing job because I never know when a surprise will arrive in the mail in the form of great music. This time it is flutist Bill Leyden‘s latest creation, Beloved. For some unknown reason I have been receiving lots of flute music is the last two years; De Maria, Adams, Finzer and many more. Leyden’s music is powerful, yet remains subtle throughout the album of fifteen songs. There are some haunting solo performances as well as multi instrumentals. The light, synthesized orchestral accompaniment of many of the songs is filmy, weightless and does not impede the flow. Where the Hammond organ came from, I’ll never know. Furthermore, there are many Native American flute influences throughout, but that is not in fact the main theme. It sub-title could be something like “things you love” or “a musical journey in my life so far” of the things that I love. In any case, the gentle music is very additive and just the right medicine to calm the spirit. I beg indulgence with my Spanish title translations.
Beloved, the title tune opens the album with a sultry blend of haunting flute and back ground strings. It is s slowing pulsing melody, a heartbeat of passion if you will. There is a drifting quality to the music, a free-floating sense of a heart wandering about and then, returning to the point of origin, to return to safety perhaps.
Rel[oj] de la Vida (The Clock of Life) is the music of a solo wooden flute with its wondrous echoing sound and organic sense. I could hear the music reflect off canyon walls and through the forests as the mountains counted the seasons with their own sense of time. Man has yet to adjust his own spiritual timepiece to such magnificence.
The crash of ocean waves opens the song The Wake I Left. Synthesized background and flute verse balance in a song of inner directed refection. Like the sea, the tune does have a noticeable ebb and flow that slows down the heart long enough to permit retrospection.
Gueve del Tosoro (The Treasure Cave) is a solo piece that notes the history of a mysterious place in the south of Spain. You travel the coast road until you reach La Calla de Moral and take a right turn. The cave is one of the few carved by the sea and has stories of great fortune left by ancient conquerors. The treasure may actually be the blissful beauty that surrounds the area. Bill’s flute snakes along the paths and ends up somewhere in the hills where the legends and splendor abide.
Second Growth seemed so appropriate on the day of this writing. The storm came in quickly, and with a cleansing wash covered everything around me. The air was fresh and pure after its passing and everything seemed renewed. The leaves were greener, the irises were a brighter purple and the sky was study in blue contrast. Bill’s use of sinewy violin, gentle drones and an echoing flute promised second growth that was palpable.
Ya Habibi may be Arabic for loved one and so carries the title in a Middle Eastern themed solo flute tune. Though the arid wind blows and the empty desert freezes in the nighttime, the warbling intro and peaceful melody reminds me that there is no sun hot enough to desiccate the power of love. And no distance is too great to try to separate the heart of a lover from another.
Bill Leyden has at least forty albums that I know of. He is a master of the Native American flute and his music is intricate, emotional and peaceful. His dogma is that once we understand the theory of the Incans who believe that our body is surrounded by a special energy, than we can use the knowledge to heal in extraordinary ways. His music has made me a believer.
|Rating: Very Good|
Reviewed by Shayde Christian (Writer/Director):
“With “Beloved,” Leyden has graduated to a new level of artistry. I enjoyed “Peace Be Still” and “Portal To Stillness” but Beloved is transcendent. Leyden has never been one to hang his melodies on strict structures, but Beloved roams so freely, so effortlessly, that it’s difficult to understand how it all holds together. Yet it does. Like a ribbon affixed to a wand in the hands of a skilled and lithely dancer.“
–Rich Halliburton, Querencia Woodwinds:
“I’ve recently been introduced to the musical genius of Bill Leyden. In a body of work approaching 40 CDs, he explores every nuance of these instruments. I personally love those tracks artfully arranged with brilliantly added instrumentation, finding them to be a fresh and welcome departure from stand alone NAF music. I’ll be including his CDs “Track of the Bear”, or “Beloved” with your flute purchases. “