THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE
Lisa Downing--A Delicate Balance

If a quieter, more serene moment alone or with the object of your affection is what you desire on any given day or evening, I believe solo pianist Lisa Downing has what you need here in her latest offering, A Delicate Balance, a truly mesmerizing collage of beauty and melody dancing together so exquisitely.

As the pianist says, “It’s a fragile existence that we lead.  It is a challenge to balance your job with your personal life, your outer-persona with your inner feelings, working versus having fun, helping your children or doing too much for them, day-dreams versus accomplishments. The list is endless and it touches every aspect of our lives.” So, what does the accomplished artist do? She channels those feelings and observations about life and uses them for inspiration in writing tunes that especially reflect the years she personally spent as a single parent struggling to raise her son on her own. Such a personal connection to the music allows for such a magnificent flow and depth of understanding, and it is all so evident in this quality production.

Formerly a “Metal Head” who spent high school as a fan of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and its former lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, Yes, and the like, Downing eventually found a different path, through various vehicles (like being a church youth pastor and playing in a Christian folk/pop/rock band), all the while harboring a passion for solo piano. The material offered here should serve as proof positive that she has found her “home” and shares it so warmly with us here.
Each delicate piece, beginning with the opening track, “The Gift,” and ending with “Speaker/Listener,” is presented with a true engagement of craftsmanship, as well as deep introspection.  Just closing one’s eyes and succumbing to the seductive melodies could be one of the most positive and favorable self-indulgent acts you could perform.  This is music that you’ll feel you owe yourself on many occasions.  Smooth jazz as we’ve come to know it, no. Beautiful, thoughtful, and all-encompassing music for the soul, a huge “yes.”  Take the time to pamper yourself with A Delicate Balance.  --  Ronald Jackson