Produced by: Jeff Eden Fair & Starr Parodi
To buy Common Places click here or listen on Spotify.
Starr Parodi has crossed paths between the classical, pop/rock, modern contemporary composition, and chamber jazz worlds as is easily heard on this solo piano recording. Her beautifully delicate and crystalline touch is a universally enjoyable sound that can reach the soul of most romantics or daydreamers. Listen to Common Places more than once, and you hear an assured confidence and peaceful serenity that rivals previous passionate piano troubadours like Bill Evans, Harold Budd or Ralph Towner. It's that innate sense of perfection and purpose linked with intriguing diversity that makes the music of Parodi quite listenable. She uses modal minimalist inventions with some liquid electronics on the opening title track, follows-up by digitally delaying Buffalo Springfield's evocative pensive, original protest song morphed into a hopeful refrain on "For What It's Worth" and you are hooked...This is just about the prettiest piano project heard in recent years... -Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide & Apples's iTunes
This deeply passionate and beautiful recording is one of the best albums of the year. - Chris Douridas, Grammy nominated host of KCRW's "New Ground"
Parodi’s pianistic sense and delivery go way beyond creative. Words that come to mind while listening to Common Places include imaginative, courageous, dynamic, passionate, gutsy, pensive, restrained, and euphoric. I’m thoroughly entranced by the whole experience. - Mark Vail, Keyboard Magazine
It’s easy to lose yourself in the latest release from composer/pianist Starr Parodi. Common Places: Piano Improvisations offers a deeply imaginative and mesmerizing set of solo piano improvisations... Overall, Common Places is an inspired, engaging work with a singular vision that demonstrates the depth and breadth of Parodi’s influences, and clearly conveys her artistic voice, her insights and her virtuosity. Must play: “Common Places” - Matt Gallagher, Mix Magazine
Starr Parodi’s solo piano debut, Common Places, is not a new recording - it was released in 2006 - but Starr and I met recently and I was anxious to hear and review her music. A Steinway Artist, Parodi got her first big break as the pianist/keyboardist for The Arsenio Hall Show band, “The Posse.” She has also composed a very impressive body of music for television and film (often with her husband and musical partner, Jeff Fair). Common Places was awarded the 2007 Album of the Year by SoloPianoRadio.com (Whisperings). All of the pieces on the album are improvisations, although five of the ten tracks were originally composed by other artists. A fascinating combination of classical, pop, rock, movie themes, and jazz creates a distinctive and original musical sound that can only come with life and musical experience. After the songs were recorded, Parodi and Fair experimented with a new sonic palette. They continued to use only the piano, but affected it with various filters and other devices. Sometimes the results were ambient, sometimes percussive and often subliminal, adding another layer of emotion to the performances. Parodi recorded the music on her 1928 grand piano that once graced the MGM sound stage and was used in classic films that include The Wizard of Oz. The piano sound is rich, deep, and often very powerful.
Common Places begins with the title track, a piece with classical influences, a touch of mystery, and interesting effects that come from the piano itself - an intriguing opener! “For What It’s Worth” is a powerful solo piano interpretation of the 1967 Buffalo Springfield hit and an unexpected treat. The piano-based effects and layering give this rock classic an edge that perfectly suits the song. “Albinoni’s Adagio” is an interpretation of the classical piece reconstructed from fragments found in Dresden archives in 1945. Parts of this six-minute track are very simple in styling, while others become much bigger and more passionate. “Kenya” is a beautiful slow jazz ballad that often shows Parodi’s funkier side - a 9 1/2 minute exploration that I really like. “Follow Me” begins with a fast and slightly frenetic intro that dances all over the piano keyboard. After about a minute, the piece becomes more melodic and even hymnlike, telling its story in a way that is both purposeful and dramatic. “James Bond” is a new interpretation of the version of the theme that earned Parodi a Gold Record. Dark and mysterious, she gives this very well-known movie theme a fresh makeover. “Forgiveness” is another favorite with its interesting chord voicings and soulful nature. I love the closing track, Tony Sena’s “Covenant.” Heartfelt and passionately expressive, it’s a beautiful ending to a very impressive album! - Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano.com