Embracing the Wind
As far as new age pianists go, Kevin Kern is far less known than either Jim Brickman or David Lanz, but his lush, melodic meditations fall somewhere in between the music of those two. It's far less direct and poppy than Brickman, and slightly less dramatic and conceptual than Lanz. The concept here was for label owner Terence Yallop to offer images to Kern in the studio, which Kern would then develop into full-fledged impressionistic pieces. Kern calls it an interchange of ideas featuring external and internal stimuli. Whatever their source, these are simply beautiful pieces perfect for dreaming, meditating, or stress relief. "Blossom on the Wind" opens the disc on a brooding, haunting note, with gentle orchestration sweeping the listener into a dreamscape. "Through Your Eyes" has more of a pop/classical flavor, catchy and bright from the middle register. "Childhood Remembered" is (like the opening track) more sparse and features a chamber music flavor. Many of these tunes sound like soft and caressing film score pieces in search of the images Kern no doubt dares the listener to create. One nearest and dearest to his heart is the sweet solo ballad "From This Day Forward," a piece enhanced by soft strings which is dedicated to his fiancé Pam. "A Secret Grove" has a similar feeling, enhanced by the balmy breeze of the acoustic guitar. The genre of new age music has taken many forms of worldbeat and exotic rhythms under its large umbrella. But Kern helps listeners remember the type of music that defined the genre once upon a time.