“Metamorphosis: Pour le piano étendu“ (for extended piano) by Terry Lee Nichols
Terry Lee Nichols is an award-winning musician and composer known for his captivating, thought provoking, and evocative music. His new album “Metamorphosis,” is an exciting musical journey that showcases his unique style and artistic vision. The album feels like a legacy or time capsule for humanity. Not only that, but crystal clear are Terry’s astounding and truly breathtaking keyboard skills.
The piano music on “Metamorphosis” is characterized by its lush melodies and intricate arrangements. “Metamorphosis” stands as a testament to Terry’s mastery of composition and his ability to transport listeners to a new realm of emotional depth and introspection.
In addition to his compositional prowess, Terry Lee also demonstrates his talent as a performer on “Metamorphosis.” His piano playing is delightfully expressive and masterfully skillful, displaying a nuanced touch that brings the melodies to life. Terry Lee is “one” with his piano.
The album takes listeners on a transformative voyage, reflecting the themes of change, growth, personal and cultural evolution; metamorphosis. Here, we go from infancy to adulthood. We go through a life journey. Each of the 14 tracks unfolds like a chapter in a story, with its own distinct mood and atmosphere, yet all cohesive at the same time.
One of the remarkable aspects of “Metamorphosis” is the emotional range it covers. Some tracks are contemplative, inviting listeners to delve into their own thoughts and feelings. Others are uplifting and vibrant, awakening a sense of joy and celebration. Terry skillfully uses dynamics, pacing, and several extended piano techniques (strumming, plucking, scraping, picking, bowing, dragging, and rubbing), to evoke different moods and create a deeply immersive listening experience. The result is spectacular.
The album opens with the title track, which is about 4 minutes total of beautifully melodic piano, gently played, then exploding into a passionate emergence. This is delicately and effectively sparkling, setting the tone for the album.
Following is “Out of Eden,” which speaks to the ambitious, global five-year Genographic Project, which was overseen by the National Geographic Society, with IBM and the Waitt Family foundation providing funding for the research. Succinctly, this project traces our ancestral roots and migration routes. The music is dynamic and full of movement, perfectly capturing the expansion of humanity. Fascinating, truly. And ditto for “Let Us Rest Beside the Cool Waters,” which continues the migration theme. One can literally feel the flow of rising waters which eventually led the Mesolithic people to migrate to other regions.
We can’t address each of the 14 tracks here, so here are some additional highlights: One of the things that makes the album special is an interactive booklet that you can engage with online while listening to the music. This helps integrate the multi-dimensionality of this body of work.
“Grandma’s Good Ol’ Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits” has got a fun, ragtime feel. Very enjoyable. “A Day in the Life of a Cocktail Pianist” is smooth and effortlessly flowing, easily conjuring up imagery from a bygone era of elegant lounges and high society. The essence and nostalgia of long-ago love is perfectly communicated through the gorgeous, “Once Upon a Time.”
The quite poignant “Bedtime Stories,” speaks to the special bond between father and son. This is beautiful. Dramatic and emotionally evocative, “The Dangling Conversation” paints a picture of different life scenarios where endings are really being beginnings. Yes, indeed, they are even if we don’t realize it at the time.
What is it they say about hindsight? “Thinking Back” invites us to remember that little things can be big things. And you may only gain that perspective by looking back. This is extraordinarily well done – as is the whole album, in fact. Again, what shines through every composition is Terry’s amazing connection with the piano. Extraordinary, in my opinion.
This beautiful album closes out touchingly and appropriately with “The Long Goodbye.” Most of us know what that refers to, and I love this from the booklet, which says it better than I ever could: “If there is any immortality to be had among us human beings, it is certainly only in the love that we leave behind. Fathers like mine don’t ever die.” Chills.
“Metamorphosis” is a deeply moving musical experience that captivates the heart and soul of the listener and speaks to the very depths of the human experience. You will want to get the entire album.
Get it and listen here: https://www.terryleenichols.com/metamorphosis
Official artist website: https://www.terryleenichols.com