Richard Carr – When Soul & Heart Collide (Rec’d Music)
Richard Carr makes absolutely stunning music with just a piano. While this obviously isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, those willing to give it a listen will be extremely impressed. Starting out with ‘Familiar Stranger’ the album is not only meant as background music but also an important part of any experience… Other tracks I feel drawn to mention include ‘When Soul & Heart Collide’, ‘In Memorium’, and ‘Rainshower at Mirror Lake’. This is exraordinary talented work, there’s not much more I can say than that. ****1/2 [5 stars being best – Ed.] — Persygrrrl, Independent Music Reviews at www.geocities.com/indiecator
Richard Carr – When Soul and Heart Collide
RecD Music – RECD CD 1004-2
When Soul and Heart Collide is a very adept title for this fourth release from New Orleans by way of St. Louis pianist Richard Carr. He definitely puts both heart and soul into the wonderful music on this recording. Combining elements of new age, classical and light jazz into his own delectable hybrid, it is easy to see why he is becoming one of the most respected pianists in the Big Easy.
One of the first things you notice in the sweet lead track Familiar Stranger is how his right hand rapidly pirouettes like the graceful ballet soloist, as his left hand flows with a solid and fully rounded accompaniment, as if there were more that one player at the piano. Sunbeams at Twilight is simple but dramatic beauty, enticing the listener to paint a visual of the title’s theme. The music of Racing Hearts & New Love also fits the title, with a brisk pace and joyful feel. It is quite obvious that Richard is not only extremely talented, but quite well-versed in the art of telling his musical stories with no words. That is the goal of any instrumentalist and it is what makes “When Soul and Heart Collide” a true masterpiece. — Mark Waterbury, Music Morsels
“When Soul and Heart Collide”
2000 Rec’d Music
Richard Carr’s distinctive and evocative piano solos are finally receiving the recognition they deserve. Too many pianists in this genre feel the need or are pressured by labels to add synth tracks to “colorize” their music, but when a pianist plays with this kind of passion, all of the colors of the rainbow are already there. Carr’s music speaks volumes about the artistic merits of staying independent and in control of ones own music. This is Carr’s fifth album to date, and he just keeps getting better. Many of the tracks are first-time improvisations and the album is presented without edits to preserve the integrity of the moment that the music was created.
The musical moods conveyed in this CD are varied, from the impassioned title track to the sweet and gentle “Tender Love”. The collection opens with “Familiar Stranger” – a light and upbeat piece of musical sunshine. “Sunbeams At Twilight” is darker and more abstract – less rhythmic and more atmospheric.”When Soul and Heart Collide” starts out gently and gradually builds momentum and emotional power. This is definitely a man at one with his piano, and the piece is exceptional in its openness and strength. “Racing Hearts and New Love” is pure joy. “In Memoriam” is a loving tribute to a trusted friend and mentor. Although much of this piece is sad and reflective, there is an underlying current of hope. At a little more than seven minutes, many musical ideas are able to develop and evolve into other themes – much as emotions often quickly change with the loss of a loved one. This is another truly exceptional piece of music. “Into the Sunset” is both reverent and majestic – almost anthemic. The final track is a duet variation on the title song with pianist Alex Uttermann. This version is also very effective and quite different from the solo – a compelling musical dialogue.
An exceptional album from start to finish, I highly recommend “When Soul and Heart Collide”. — Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications
On Richard Carr’s new release “When Soul & Heart Collide”, Richard Carr shows that he has become the master of the solo piano. The emotion runs high from track to track as he captures many moods. Familiar Stranger opens with a powerful moving piano that reaches out and grabs the listener’s attention. On Sunbeams At Twilight, Richard shows his more peaceful intimate side and by now you realize this CD has much more to offer. The title track once again shows why so often Richard’s music is compared to the great compositions of George Winston. One of the most beautiful and touching songs Richard has ever done is ” In Memoriam “, the passion in this song can only be heard by the listener and the music must have come straight from the heart. When Soul & Heart Collide has definitely come from a very special place because never has Richard played with such heart & passion. Richard has grown so much with each release and this being his fourth release leaves us all wanting more & knowing that this is only the beginning for Richard Carr! This is a release Richard Carr can be very proud of and if you love solo piano you will be very proud to own this one! -Erik de Jonge, Bep’s Antiques & Music
This review appeared in Offbeat Magazine in the January 2001 issue. Offbeat is a monthly music & entertainment magazine published in New Orleans.
“Richard Carr’s piano concerto-style music evokes the beautiful imagery of his song titles. The romanticism of his earlier releases, Through the Mind’s Eye, Fogland, and An American Quixote, continues here, on 13 original tracks recorded earlier this year at Tulane’s Dixon Recital Hall. With such titles as “Sunbeams at Twilight”, “Headlong Into the Wind”, “Chasing the Dream”, ” Into the Sunset”, “Flying Amongst the Clouds” and ” Rainshower at Mirror Lake”, there’s no mistaking Carr’s intent to convey these ethereal images. Unfortunately, there’s an agonizing sameness to most of these tracks that make them virtually indistinguishable from one another. Carr may know what he’s trying to say but an audience might not – at least not without constantly referring to the song list. Perhaps the greatest flaw here is Carr’s one-dimensional P.O.V. As we all know, life isn’t all sweetness and light and the best music of our Western culture reflects that . Handel was a master composer because his music could conjure up a full spectrum of visual images and emotions – from the wrath of God in unleashing plagues upon ancient Egypt to the triumphant joy of Jesus’ birth. “Autumn Leaves” is a keyboard classic because you can envision leaves falling off the trees as you listen to it.
Carr’s mastery of the keyboard is beyond doubt or question and his music is a beautifully refreshing contrast to all the junk that’s out on the market, but it’s lacking in depth. It needs more body; more substance. As a purely constructive suggestion, Carr should consider adapting his music to classical ballet. In that way, dancers can visually convey the images he is attempting to project. It would be a perfect melding of two great performance art forms, and, were this to happen, I would be the first on line to buy tickets to it.” — Dean Shapiro, Offbeat Magazine reviewer
Return to When Soul & Heart Collide album page.