album of evocative atmospheric solo piano music Composed by Chris Conway over the last 20 years. The sheer
beauty of the themes and the delicacy of the playing, and the
atmosphere that pervades the whole album make this a remarkable
"a solo piano feast, very much aimed at
soothing the furrowed brow.
Atmospheric, refelective, calming." - Musician Magazine.
album is something of a promise to myself finally kept. When I
first became interested in piano music as a boy I was greatly
influenced by the classic ECM piano album by ECM artists like
Steve Kuhn & Richard Beirach, and to a lesser extent Chick
Corea and Kieth Jarrett. As a result I wrote a great deal of small
evocative piano pieces. I always wanted to record some of them.
20 years went by. I got busy in other areas of music. Picked up
many more influences, the minimal music of Terry Riley, Indian,
Balkan, Celtic musics. Then I was asked to make just such an album
of piano music.
It was quite an emotional process recording these pieces, choosing
them, arranging them, putting them together so they flow. Hearing
the old influences and the newer.I'm very happy with the result.
Like coming full circle.
the whole album on youtube
Kuhn, Rainer Bruninghaus, Richie Beirach, Bobo Stenson, Erik Satie,
Terry Riley, Alexander Scriabin, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor
arrangements of Beyond Distance can be heard on The Rain
Garden album Closer To The Flame as "Distances" and on the Chris Conway's Happy Landings
album Think Blue, Count Two as
"Journey Beyond Distance"
Cry For The Mountains has been recorded previously as a
jazz tune (on Breathtaking CD) and a song
(on Live! CD).
Another arrangement of Folklore was recorded with The Rain
Garden on their Closer To The Flame as the first
part of "Life is for Living".
When Chris was at the New Walk Museum recording this album, he
also added piano to a track for singer-songwriter Dave
Wyatt's album China on Paper Planes.
CCs favourite track - Cry From The Past
Some rough videos taken of CC warming up while the recording crew set
up the equipment at the New Walk Museum, Leicester.
Not great quality videos, but it gives you a feeling for how the album
pieces I have composed come from over 20 years of writing. I've
written plenty of pieces of music over the years, but these
are the ones I often return to - especially at quiet moments.
My own safe places in a busy world. I hope they will be a sanctuary
for you too.
A tune dating back to the earliest days of playing with the
group The Rain Garden - 1989. Then it was for sequencer, sitar
Cry From The Past 3.21 I used to play this on guitar, in fact was originally written
on it. I switched to playing it for piano with my jazz trio.
It now suits being solo very well -one of my favourite of my
Beyond Distance 4.50 Used to play a version of this piece with my Happy Landings
jazz trio in about '95 but it was a solo piano piece first.
Zero Horizon 2.30 I rediscovered this on an old cassette tape I'd made in
1980 - a thrill to find it again as it was a favourite of mine.
Cry For The Mountains 2.58
This has been recorded previously as a jazz tune (on Breathtaking CD) and a song (on Live! CD). Now here
is the solo piano version.
This piece is in 7/8 and was inspired by an improvised line
of vocal by Indian Classical singer Kishori Amonkar. I first
played this with The Rain Garden on Ritual
of the Sky People CD
One Day Never 3.31
An old solo paino tune which I later played with my jazz trio
for some years.
Now and Then 3.20
This used to be part of a bigger piece Flourescant Sea which
I hope to record one day.
Another tune from The Rain Garden band days - I was listening
to a lot of European folk fusion music when I wrote this.
I Will Know 4.51
Quite a new composition. A response to and a sister piece to
I Will Know on the Breathtaking CD
I love improvising and tho i was keen to record many of my classic
tunes I wanted to include a spontaneous piece too.
I used to play this in my Solaris jazz quartet back in the 1980s
- we'd improvise around it, come back toit - kind of freeform.
I always liked the fresh sound of the tune and how it winds
around it's 36beat cycle.
Kindred Vision 2.52
Justa set of descending chords but I alwasy enjoy playing it
- it again dates from early jazz trio days - the early 90s.
I always wanted to record this piece and am so glad to now
Honesty Revisited 0.51
Was fun to maike this minimal arrangement - I tend to like cyclic
form on CD
the multi instrumentalist Chris Conway maybe a new name for
this reviewer, this US born talented musician has been recording
music for many years. In fact, his website indicates that he
has been involved in over 35 recordings in some capacity. An
artist with the wanderlust desire to express, Conway refuses
to be restricted by either genre or his instrumental voice.
However, Sanctuary is a very successful attempt in placing the
artist behind a grand piano to record compositions that he has
recorded over a 20 year period.
Despite featuring compositions that Conway has created over
time, the album has a very spontaneous and improvised feel to
it. For the most part the tracks have a very loose structure
to them allowing Conway to weave around on the keys but in a
very contemplative fashion. The songs with the greater frame
work and melody standout include the tracks such as “Beyond
Distance”, “Cry For The Mountains” and “Mantra”. Though melodically,
“Kishori” is by far the most memorable track.
From a completely different angle, Conway’s title track “Sanctuary”
clocks in over 7 minutes and has an expansive style reminiscent
of the Great Improviser Michael Jones. Recorded live and produced
by the artist himself under the watchful ear of Llewellyn, the
sound quality is notable. Meanwhile, if you are looking for
the more eclectic Conway, check out the remarkable River Of
Life released the same year where he plays just about everything
but the kitchen sink.
There is no doubting the talent of this multi-instrumentalist
who is equally at home on the piano as he is on the guitar and
the many other instruments that he is more than capable of playing.
From the album cover to the musical content, Sanctuary is a
very purposeful album that is focused on providing us with a
quiet backdrop during our retreat from the everyday hustle and
bustle of life.
you've been the driving force behind 30 first-rate albums and
witnessed the simultaneous release of six CDs, you certainly
have arrived. Chris is a Midlands pianist of no mean ability
in addition to being a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer
This work is a solo piano feast, very much aimed at soothing
the furrowed brow and tense muscles of the modern man. Always
concious of how it will become a part of the listener's environment,
Chris deliberatley markets each CD for specific use ; for meditation,
as ambient background for yoga, for healing, etc, and offers
a deep well of sustenance.
of the bunch for me is the piano album, Sanctuary, which
is less definable by the New Age label than the rest, though
all stand head and shoulders above most of what passes as such.
That Conway continues to languish under the radar, as that rather
expressive American phrase would have it, is something that
simply baffles me. Perhaps the recent news, that Brazilian jazz
diva Ithamara Koorax plans to record one of Conway's songs,
might raise his profile a little.
In jazz circles, at any rate. And next time you're in the local
mind-and-body store getting your chakras realigned, check out
the music playing in the background. It might well be Chris
Conway, offering a little sanctuary. "