Five New CD Reviews

Reviews of Rocking Romans compilation, John-Paul Kaplan, Peter Kolar, Trinity Session, and Father Christopher Wilcock.
by Susan Bailey | Source: www.gvonline.net

 

Various - Rocking Romans 2008 Best of New Catholic Music

Reviewed by Fr. Kent O’Connor

To get an idea of what’s going on in today’s Catholic rock music, Rocking Romans 2008 Best of New Catholic Music, is a great place to turn. Although missing perhaps some of the biggest acts in Catholic music, this compilation CD features amazing artists, such as Sean Clive, Joel Stein, Last Day, and Critical Mass. I think that anyone who enjoys modern rock would find at least one real “keeper” on Rocking Romans 2008 and probably more. I have my favorites, but I think compilations are more of a “to each his own” type of thing. It is a strong collection with some more familiar artists and some less familiar ones. Hopefully, Rocking Romans 2008 will introduce some of these great musicians to a wider audience.

You can purchase Rocking Romans 2008 Best of New Catholic Music at www.rockingromans.com.

 

John-Paul Kaplan - Keys of Time--My Favorite Piano, Volume I

Reviewed by Fr. Kent O’Connor

Keys of Time--My Favorite Piano, Volume I is a beautiful collection of ten piano solos by Catholic artist, John-Paul Kaplan. One look at the song list and it is clear that this is not a “background CD” for a reconciliation service. This is a collection of mostly secular standards, including “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Chariots of Fire,” and “Rainbow Connection,” with three original pieces by Kaplan.

I love piano music myself, though admittedly, I often use it for background. Whereas Keys of Time could be used for that purpose, it deserves a closer listen. Only through a closer listen will one hear Kaplan’s more clever arrangements. Check out the opening track, “Night and Day,” where the song itself contains “night and day” differences in style. And a little “moonlight” thrown in for good measure is a nice touch. There’s also “I’ve Got Rhythm,” which during the first part of the song had me asking, “well, does he?” By the end of the song, there is no question: Kaplan has both rhythm and pizzazz.

I could have done without “Chariots of Fire,” but at 1:52 running time, it’s mostly harmless. It’s a great Vangelis melody, but sadly, the Oscar-winning film has been parodied so many times, it’s hard not to think of those parodies when one hears the song. I also don’t think it is his strongest arrangement. To me, it sounds a little like Kaplan needed a tenth song for a complete CD, so he chose this one.

I would have preferred that Kaplan put some more of his own material on Keys of Time, because those are my favorite tracks. But, then again, the title says that this is his favorite piano, not mine. How can you argue with “his favorite”? However, the title also says that this is “Volume I.” So I hope that his “favorites” for Volume II are more of his own pieces, because they would probably also be my favorites.

The CD is available from CDbaby at www.cdbaby.com/cd/jpkaplan2.

Peter Kolar (World Library Publications) - Misa Luna

Reviewed by Kerry McMasters

Peter Kolar was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. Peter began taking piano lessons at age seven. He became involved in music ministry at an early age and also played in the family’s polka band. He had also formed a folk group with his older siblings. Peter earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Composition from Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois.

Peter is currently the Hispanic Publications editor at WLP. His latest CD, Misa Luna is put together very well. The CD covers arrangements that are both traditional and contemporary, and in both English and Spanish. There are also Eucharistic Acclamations for use in Children’s Liturgies both in English and Spanish. I really can’t say enough of how well this CD is laid out. The arrangements are so simple and easy to learn that any congregation will be able to sing these parts in no time at all. I am very pleased at how the voicing of both the instruments and the singers all blend very well.

I would feel very comfortable singing these songs and acclamations during a bilingual Celebration of the Eucharist. The melodies and structures of the acclamations are very easy to learn. Again the quality of the recordings and voicing of instruments and singers is superb. A CD such as this that covers both traditional and contemporary recordings of the same songs and in both English and Spanish has been long overdue. This CD recording certainly speaks for itself.

Well done Peter!

To learn more about Peter and his music, follow this link: http://www.wlp.jspaluch.com/1721.htm

Trinity Session – Walk On

Reviewed by Billie Tarascio

Walk On is the debut project for Trinity Session a group of four women from Lancaster, Pennsylvania singing praise to God. Although the women first began performing together in 1995, it wasn’t until 2001 that they officially banded together, and in 2006 they released their debut album Walk On.

Trinity Session could be compared stylistically to Avalon or Point of Grace. Walk On doesn’t have the big production sound of an Avalon album, but the group certainly isn’t lacking talent or creativity. Listeners can expect four-part harmony throughout the album, although at times it overwhelms the melody. Also, pitch problems creep up in both the melody and harmonies during the complex use of diminished and jazz chords. Both of these issues are easily corrected with a combination of vocal coaching and production. The group’s lead singer Valerie Martin writes the majority of the songs, which cover the gamut from gospel spirituals, to contemporary power ballads to gentle meditative prayer. The sound and style of Trinity Sessions has great potential to rise to the next level by tightening up their writing, vocals, and production.

Highlights on Walk On include the traditional “Peace Prayer,” the bluesy yet upbeat “It’s a God Thing” and “The Canticle of Mary.” I predict Walk On will appeal to listeners who enjoy easy listening, inspirational music. To purchase Walk On and learn more about Trinity Sessions, check out their very cool website at www.trinitysession.com.

Father Christopher Wilcock – Who Did You See

Reviewed by Billie Tarascio

Who Did You See, marks Christopher Wilcock’s seventh collection of liturgical works and more than a 14-year partnership with OCP, a Catholic publishing and distribution company out of Portland, Oregon. The album was released in March 2008 and marketed toward Catholic youth and young adults featuring songs filled with World Youth Day 2008 themes.

While I would not categorically describe the sounds of Who Did You See as “Praise and Worship “or “Contemporary Christian”, styles typically popular with youth and young adults, the album does contain elements of both the traditional and contemporary throughout. The vocalists featured on the album are markedly classical, and much of the instrumentation and arranging reflects Wilcock’s history with orchestral music. Representing the contemporary genera, are driving drumbeats, electric guitars, contemporary piano lines, and colorful counter melodies backed with edgy harmonies.

Within the album listeners will find linguistic and as well as stylistic diversity including an international version of “Spirit-Power” featured at World Youth Day 2008 and “En Todo Amor,” a bilingual composition.

Who Did You See is a collection of thought-provoking lyrics and infectious melodies appropriate for use in multiple settings. In fact, as I listened to Who Did You See I couldn’t help but feel as if I were listening to a musical soundtrack, begging the question: Will OCP expand into musical theatre works for catholic parishes and schools? As we wait for the answer to that question, I would recommend Who Did You See as a source of music for the Church worldwide. To purchase Who Did You See and other works by Father Christopher Wilcock check out www.ocp.org/artists/549.
 



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