Pianist Carol Albert melds smooth jazz and New Age sounds on “Stronger Now”

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Some audiences might remember pianist, keyboardist and composer Carol Albert from the success of her chart-topping album “Fly Away Butterfly.” Now, the musician returns with “Stronger Now.”

“Stronger Now” is an album of original music written by Albert. From the first note, the songs win audiences over with their smooth jazz approach with just the hint of an edge.

Albert’s previous success found “Fly Away Butterfly” on the top of jazz charts. The title track remained in the top 5 for 18 weeks. The follow-up single, “Chasing Waterfalls” reached No. 1 on the Groove Jazz charts, and remained in the top 5 for 10 weeks.

Sound and style of “Stronger Now” by Carol Albert

“Stronger Now” begins with the title track. From the first note, Albert impresses listeners with her ability to play what sounds like smooth jazz, while charging ahead like an edgy pop song. In that regard, the theme of the piece (the title) is both heard and felt by the audience. While “Fly Away Butterfly” might have showcased fragile themes, “Stronger Now” is more of a triumph. There is nothing fragile here. Albert plays with the confidence of a bandleader. Often, her instrument is seamlessly situated in the songs she plays – – Albert seems to have no need to take the forefront of the soundscape.

The approach and sound of “Stronger Now” sounds natural, and that is to Albert’s credit as a songwriter. Even though the music does not sound exactly the same, there is something about Albert’s approach that recalls Bruce Hornsby’s stylish piano playing.

Albert evinces a sense of cool that makes her approach to jazz modern and unique. While the entire album is worth listening to, the first few songs are so cool that listeners who are new to Albert and those who have heard her work before will be amazed enough to listen to those first songs again. That the musician makes a good impression goes without saying.

“Perfect Sunday” is the third track on the album. It, along with the title track, set the tone for the album. The two songs serve as an introduction of sorts. “Stronger Now” makes use of Albert’s piano and drum programming played by Lew Lang. “Perfect Sunday” has a soundscape created by Albert on piano, keys, programming and percussion; Paul Brown on percussion and guitar; Lee Thornberg on horn arrangements, flugal and valve trombone; Sam Sims on bass and Lil John Roberts on drums.

Albert is an award-winning performer who has appeared on the Grammy ballot in 2016. Her work since the critically acclaimed “Fly Away Butterfly” has shown that Albert has earned all the awards and accolades that she has accumulated. Her hard work can be heard on “Stronger Now.”

“Stronger Now” will be available Jan. 2020.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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