Keepsakes In The Attic
Reviewed by Donovan Johnson
“Keepsakes In The Attic” is the latest release by piano artist Jeff Bjorck, a New Jersey native who currently lives in Pasadena California. In contrast to much of Jeffs other works, this recording is much less involved musically. It takes a few steps back and embraces elements of nostalgia, simplicity, beauty in it’s purest and most natural forms. That’s not to say that all of the music on the album is simple, it’s not. What I would say however, is that none of the music on the album is difficult or complicated to listen to.
The songs on “Keepsakes” tell stories about the experiences of life, love, and the gift of family. These are tales that will strike a chord with every person who’s embraced these things as being a part of their time on this earth. On the whole, the album has a very sweet sound, is optimistic and reflective. Not much brooding or negativity will be found here, which happens to be a trait that I find in some of my favorite albums from this genre. Too often the musically minor, dark, and melancholy songs of the world get the most attention. One would be hard pressed to find much of that variety in this very encouraging piece of work.
The tracks that stick out to me as being the most stirring and pleasing to listen to would be tracks three, seven, and eleven. Track three, “Mother’s Hymnal,” has a sound just like it implies. It begins with a rather contemporary introduction, almost prayer like. From there it moves into a very chordal fanfare, which brings to mind the “old standards” in the Lutheran hymn books that I sang out of in our small country church growing up. This section of music evolves into a more fluid arrangement of itself, maintaining the strong melody that can clearly be heard throughout. The melody almost seems to proclaim it’s own brand of faith here, beginning with a strong foundation, growing and evolving as the music allows it to. Finally, the piece ends with a classic “walk” downward back to the opening chord. Very typical of the old hymns, and altogether creating a very solid and reverent piece of work.
Track seven, “Groom’s First Waltz,” is a lovely waltz which brings to mind a time when families would dance together at the wedding. In these times, a number of dances were common knowledge to the general public, and the waltz was certainly one of them. One can even envision a ballroom while listening to this; the reds, golds and crystal chandeliers. A simply charming piece of music, “Groom’s First Waltz” will take you back in time to an era where class was king and marriage celebrations were regarded as the highest celebrations in the land.
“Playing Catch With Dad” is track eleven on the album, and is probably the sweetest of the songs on recorded on this disk. I see a role model and his child while listening to this piece, spending time together and embracing those most important moments in a person’s life. Having experienced both roles myself, I can say that this piece speaks to me in a way that is very moving, and meaningful. Jeff has found a way to capture what takes place in the heart during these special times, a true demonstration of his musical and emotional mastery where it comes to the art of creating piano music.
I highly recommend this disk to anyone who enjoys listening to well written, recorded and composed pieces of the piano. It’s a recording that’s suitable for engaged listening or as pleasant background music, and there’s truly something “In The Attic” for everyone to enjoy. Five stars.
You can find Jeff Bjorck on Amazon, Itunes, CDBaby, or his personal website www.purepiano.com