“Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano” By Joanne Lazzaro

Review by Dyan Garris, New Age CD,  Zone Music Reporter (ZMR), and “Spirit Seeker Magazine

Full of love and vibrant life, “Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano” is a delightful, fun, lively, classical crossover dream. It’s a “must have” for anyone who loves the special symbiotic dance between flute and piano.  – Dyan Garris

Now, here’s a story:  Way back in 1982, Joanne Lazzaro and Eric V. Baum were music majors at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania. Eric knew of Joanne’s fondness for Claude Bolling’s “Suite for Flute & Jazz Piano.” So as a gift to Joanne, Eric composed this 3-movement musical Suite in a style similar to that, but with a personal flair for their shared experiences. In 1983, the handwritten musical document traveled with Joanne to New York and then with her to Los Angeles. She had it sitting on a bookshelf all this time.

Joanne went on to become a classically trained flutist who has shared the stage with many notables and even once played for the Prince of Monaco.  Eric went on to become the 1984 winner of the Asher Competition, among many other distinguished musical career accomplishments.  “Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano” by Eric V. Baum is Joanne’s 2nd album in the New Age category of “Classical Crossover,” and her first release on vinyl. You can get this digitally or on vinyl, with the vinyl version having a secret bonus track.

Now, why should you get it? Let me explain: What’s very cool about this release is that great care was taken in recording and mastering to be true to the era in all respects. Now here we have Side A and Side B, which are both the 3-movement Suite.  Side A is the classical flute and piano version as was originally written, and Side B features the addition of drum parts and bass, arranged in the original “jazzy” style of Claude Bolling.

The 3-movement Suites are a total of about 15 minutes each, beginning with “Dance of the Snowbound Grasshopper,” followed by “Shabbat,” and finishing up with “Stone Ridge Rag.”  Joanne performs masterfully on a Britannia silver flute. Bryan Pezzone joins on excellent, sensitively played piano performance. On the B side, Miller Wrenn is on bass and Ellington Peet on drums.

The 1st movement, “Dance of the Snowbound Grasshopper,” is upbeat, melodic, and moving. We can feel that grasshopper, a sign of transformation, extricating itself from whatever has previously bound it. Perhaps the “grasshopper” here is a metaphor for our own “selves.” Both piano and flute are exquisite. It’s a great dance all through. On the B side, this is just as fun and lively and definitely “jazzy” with wonderful bass and drums. Quite enjoyable.

Shabbat is Judaism’s day of rest. This 2nd movement, “Shabbat,” is restful, peaceful, and yet also emotionally evocative. Joanne is completely one with her flute – sweet and melodic – and Bryan Pezzone’s piano performance is delightful as well. On the B side, this is just as lovely, with the addition of gentle drums and mellow bass adding nicely to the texture. Very nice!

I believe Stone Ridge is a place in Upstate New York. The 3rd movement, “Stone Ridge Rag,” is full of life and just gorgeous. Flute and piano play so well together here. It’s a fav. It’s even better on the B side. Truly wonderful.

“Suite Esmerelda for Flute and Piano” is a must have for any lover of classical flute, piano, and jazzy-style music. Upbeat, fun and fresh.

The album releases on June 4, 2021. Pre-order begins May 28th, 2021. Listen here:


Official artist website: https://www.kokopelli.la/

Broadcast/media promotion:

LAZZ Promotions: Ed & Stacey Bonk

E-mail: [email protected]