With over 18,000 listeners on Spotify alone, award-winning solo piano player, Mark Pinkus, is doing something right. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Mark started composing music at a very young age. His 17th album, “Walls I Left Behind,” is a whopping 20 tracks, 74 minutes of quintessential solo piano.
Mark’s music plays around the world on New Age radio stations, online and terrestrial, as well as on satellite programs. Mark’s CDs were distributed by the label Avalon/Solitudes in 45 countries and by Polygram and Universal Music, Canada. His album “Feeling Right At Home” won the award for Best Original Solo Piano Album at the EPR music awards held in September 2017, at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Mark also writes books and composes music for documentaries.
Back in the old days when we used to have such things, I had a CD series, “Cocktail Piano,” by the late Jim Haskins. It was excellent, and it was on all the time in our house. For some reason, this Mark Pinkus CD reminds me so much of that series, only better, if such a thing is possible. Every piece on this album is very calming and you could have it on all day and never tire of it.
Every track is quite melodic, and while all are in Mark’s signature style, nothing here sounds the same as the next. I say that because it is actually artistically challenging to do that, particularly with twenty different tracks, because as artists, it is sometimes easy and perhaps automatic in some ways, to find ourselves playing the same sequence of notes or chord progressions. We don’t have any of that here, which is part of what makes this album so wonderful.
We can’t address all twenty tracks here, but some favorites: The opening composition, “No Room For Me,” is lovely and has a wistfulness about it. And yet, it’s optimistic and hopeful at the same time. “Knapsacks,” which follows, has a very sweet nostalgia about it. Yes, we have left childhood behind, but those memories are always part of us. “From Place To Place” has a wonderful cadence and melody. There is no traveling frenzy here. We are simply moving gracefully from place to place.
We all experience darkness in our lives at one time or another. Regarding “Sunny Days Behind The Clouds,” Mark says, “It might take quite some time to pierce through the darkness we are experiencing but sooner or later that light will find a way to pierce through and give us new life to move on.” It’s so true. There’s a bit of a quiet, somber aspect to the piece, as one might surmise. However, as Mark says, there is always that light. This is a great piece for introspection and contemplation.
Of “In Search of Whales,” Mark says, “My dream is to see a whale in the ocean. I’ve gone to places where they are but for some reason, I never saw one. That’s what inspired this piece.” Well, for someone who has never seen a whale in the ocean, I would say this composition captures the grandeur of these creatures perfectly. Dramatic chords begin the song, and it just gets better from there. I love this.
Gentle, peaceful, melodic, “Take Down The Fences,” is beautiful in all its vulnerability. There comes a time in life where you must let your guard down in order to love. This is gorgeous in every way. The album closes out with one of my ultimate favorites here, “This Is All About Love.” The chord progressions are wonderful, the elegant melody as well, and Mark’s piano performance certainly highlights his great gift of musical artistry. Do yourself a favor and get the whole album. It’s all wonderfully relaxing and effortlessly heart-centering. Yes, it IS all about love.
Get it here or at your favorite streaming/download service: https://tinyurl.com/ye2ksrfp
Official artist website: https://markpinkus.com