Out of the Blue Songbook Review

Out of the Blue Songbook Review

When I first started working on my album, having a songbook in place for my songs was a goal I wanted to achieve. And a year later, after I released the album, it happened. There was a songbook in place for my fans to enjoy!

I think the one challenge I had when it came time to writing my songbook was waiting a year after I had recorded my album! When I started playing my music into the software, there were some subtle differences here and there on how I played it a year prior when it was recorded. So, when it came time for me to edit it, I listened to the recorded version to make sure everything was matching up. It was a lot of fun putting this together, and I hope it will be just as fun for both pianists and piano students alike to play it.

Below is a review that pianist and teacher Kathy Parsons from MainlyPiano.com did on my songbook.

“Out of the Blue is the companion songbook to Cory Lavine’s 2015 solo piano debut by the same name. All nine songs from the recording are included, transcribed by the composer himself. The book is spiral-bound and has full-color covers, front and back. The music is printed on a medium-weight paper stock that will stand up to many years of use and will still enable easy page turns. Most of these pieces are relatively easy and have a light, optimistic mood. Pianists at an intermediate/ upper-intermediate playing level should have little trouble learning this music. There are very few chords, so the notes are within the reach of an average-size hand. I did the proof-reading of the scores, making every effort to match the sheet music to the recordings as closely as possible. Expression and dynamics are clearly marked, including metronome settings and pedaling suggestions. The notation is roomy, clear, and easy-to-read. The book also includes a couple of photos of Cory, his bio, and the story behind the music. This is a really nice book, and I can easily recommend it to piano teachers for use with their students as well as piano enthusiasts looking for new music for themselves. The songs, the keys they are in, and the number of pages are listed below. The book is available as a printed book or an ebook, and the songs are also downloadable individually at corylavine.com. Recommended!”

 

  • Riding the Wind – Key of Bb (2 flats) – 7 pages

  • Give Thanks – Key of C (0 sharps or flats) – 6 pages

  • Andante – Key of C – 5 pages

  • Child’s Wish – Key of Bb – 5 pages

  • Out of the Blue – Key of C – 8 pages

  • Fly Away – Key of G (1 sharp) – 7 pages

  • New Day – Key of C – 4 pages

  • Little Dance – Key of Bb – 5 pages

  • Reminiscing – Key of Ab (4 flats) – 5 pages

Steve Sheppard from U.K.’s One World Music Radio Reviews Out of the Blue

Steve Sheppard from U.K.’s One World Music Radio Reviews Out of the Blue

 

 

There is something special about this album; it has the lightness, and a sun-filled approach that just makes you feel good when you listen to it. That’s Out of the Blue, by Cory Lavine and if that’s what an album does to you, that can’t be too bad, take a listen to track one called Riding the Wind and you will see what I mean, this is simply charming, it’s happy and full of youthful energy, a great beginning piece.

Give Thanks is something I do most days of my life. One always has to be grateful for the time we have, and to be able to share with others doubly so. This is a beautiful musical repose of that gratitude, of that moment, wrapped up in layers of music, performed with true honestly by Lavine.

Now for the poetical Andante, this composition has a level of intent that sparkles with a freshness of a new spring stream, the narrative and style here is superb, but the tempo of the piece makes the composition even more admirable, when it would have been easier to go full tilt, Lavine holds back and shows us what a class performer he truly is.

On Child’s Wish we are gifted something deeply moving, Cory Lavine for me, captures the true essence of the purity of a Child’s Wish, without life’s tainted hand being laid upon the table, this deserves many plays and is an arrangement of outstanding beauty and honesty.

I always love the moment in a review that I arrive at the title track, I have been disappointed at times, but this is not one of them, as Cory Lavine produces a multi layered arrangement that is both sensitive as it is stunning. Out of the Blue, the track, flows smoothly and with great passion, its standard of composition is sublime, the performance of Lavine on this piece alone emphasizes my thoughts, that we are seeing an emerging solo piano star of the future here, and yes, this is my favorite track off the album.

Now for the longest piece off the release, and it is called Fly Away, this is another very descriptive piece that I am certain you will enjoy the journey with, I have been thinking whose performance style Lavine reminds me of and the closest I can get is a mixture of Dan Chadburn and David Lanz, whilst that’s a nice comparison, I do believe that Lavine’s talents and signature is pretty unique and that’s ever better.

The gentle tones continue and I swear I could listen to this for hours; it is so calmly played as Lavine now moves me into a track called New Day. The musical answer to, if you have had a bad day, there is going to be another one coming around the corner soon. This is so very gentle and will ease the furrowed brow of anyone.

Our penultimate piece is called Little Dance and the melody here is both sweet, but careful, but most importantly holds its narrative with ease, once more there is a certain youthfulness and almost childlike essence about this track that is so appealing, because it is performed so very well.

Our last offering is called Reminiscing; this is a perfect ending composition to leave the album with, written so tenderly. Within this arrangement is an underpinned motif of reflection and memory filled moments, which have long since passed, but always deeply remembered, with a loving intent.

Cory Lavine can be extremely proud of this debut release, to start with an album of this quality and stylish playing, is nothing more than stunning, and one can only see good things ahead in the future for him. Out of the Blue is a well-balanced album, performed in a similar style to early David Lanz, with musical compositions that are both very tender, sensitive, but also happy and easy on the mind and ears, this is one of those albums that is so very addictive, so why not get addicted to and add a copy into your musical vaults as well.”

Steve Sheppard from U.K.’s One World Music Radio Reviews Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue Feature Article by Producer Michael Diamond

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an Francisco based music journalist, recording artist, and music producer Michael Diamond has been in the industry for over 30 years. He is also a voting member of the GRAMMY’s. I was really excited last month that he was going to do a feature article about my debut album, Out of the Blue, which was recently released this past September.

Since I released this post back in November 2015, Michael had sadly passed away from a stroke on January 27, 2017. He was well respected in the music community. Especially those who were in the New Age genre. A genre that Michael loved both as an artist and as a journalist. I am really grateful for the short time that I got to know him, and with his review he did for my album on Amazon Music and also on his site, Music and Media Focus. His review is laid out here below and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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I really like the concept behind the title of Cory Lavine’s album Out of the Blue. In his words: “Over the years, I, and maybe you yourself, have been inspired by people who’ve come in and out of your life. Many of these who I am referring to, came to us from out of nowhere. They came, Out of the Blue.” Who sent them? Where did they come from? How did they know when and where to find us, and why? Regardless if we ever find out the answers, I believe when we look deep within ourselves, we can often answer the reason why. This album is dedicated to all those who’ve inspired us to be our best, and to be sure we’re living out our lives to the fullest.”

These kinds of experiences and “chance” encounters have served as inspiration for Cory in his music and his life. A number of times since his youth he felt like giving up on his dreams, but someone or something was there to re-ignite his passion and determination. When he was only 9 years old and taking piano lessons, Cory was struggling with learning to read music. But his teacher saw the potential in him, and instead of giving up on him or sending him to someone else, she set about to learn the Suzuki Method of playing by ear so that she could teach it to him.

As Cory describes: “Seeing how difficult of a time I was having reading music (and with her love of teaching), she learned to teach a whole new way.” In addition to being a piano lesson, it was a life lesson that has stayed with him through the years.

He continued studying with this teacher into his teen years when he became enamored with synthesizers, drum machines, and computers and decided to stop with the formal lessons–not an easy decision on his part. When he graduated high school in 1990, Cory performed in a Top 40 rock band as part of Young American Showcase that did assembly programs in schools preaching against drugs and alcohol to accomplish one’s goals in life.

The touring was extensive and gave him exposure to new places and experiences. Eventually, he returned to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in music and sociology. All throughout these years, his Christian faith played an important role in the directions he chose. His road eventually led him to Nashville where he worked in the music industry for a number of years, and later in the hospitality industry, where the seeds of inspiration for a number of songs on this album were sown.

Although he started to drift from creating music, another chance encounter–this time with well-known pianist David Nevue, proved catalytic for Cory. As he tells it: David, who is a pianist and the founder of Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, was doing a workshop on his book, How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet. It was being held at the Sound Kitchen, a prominent studio in Nashville. David, along with pianists David Lanz, Joseph Akins, and Philip Wesley were also there to perform. Although I had not heard of these pianists before, they really inspired me with their music and performance. I also loved how they shared the stories behind their songs. It was a really moving experience for me. Right then and there, I thought to myself, “I can do this.” From that point on, they inspired me to work hard and think about getting back into the music. And six years later, in September of 2015, I released my debut album, Out of the Blue.”

The opening track on this all-solo piano album is a light and airy tune, appropriately titled, “Riding The Wind.” The melody lifts you like a kite in a breeze and makes for a perfect intro to the album. The first song Cory composed for this album is “Give Thanks,” which was inspired by a meaningful connection he had with a family and their 3-year-old son who Cory met in the hotel he was working at.

As he shares: “Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make life meaningful and worthwhile. And for that, I give thanks.” The song captures a sense of childlike wonder and playfulness that is quite delightful.

A song called “Andante,” harkens back to the concept of this album, which I spoke about in the beginning. According to Cory: “Andante in musical terms means to play at a walking pace. Not too fast, or not too slow. So with this title, I decided to have “walking pace” refer to our walk in life. Because during our lifetime, we meet so many different people that have an influence on our life. Whether we meet these people in passing, or whether these people are with us for years, they can have a profound and lasting impact on our lives.”

Its hard not to be moved by the emotionally evocative song, “Child’s Wish,” that was inspired by Cory’s meeting a young girl who was in Nashville to go to the Grand Ole’ Opry with her family as part of the Make A Wish Foundation that grants wishes to terminally ill children. According to Cory: “She had no cares in the world. She was so happy to be in Nashville. Her wish was starting to come true!” In contrast to the lightness of the preceding songs, this one had a bittersweet quality that was visceral.

The creation of the title tune was one of those magical experiences that happens when a song appears out of nowhere, as it did for Cory one day when he sat down at the piano, hit record, and this song just flowed out of him, pretty much in one take. As he shares: “After I was done, I stopped recording, played it back, and just couldn’t believe what had happened. This song was far removed from anything else I had ever done before.” It’s a mature and expressive piece, which I also find impressive in the way it came about.

One of my favorite songs, entitled “Fly Away,” is about a dream both Cory and I shared as youngsters–the desire to be able to fly. Listening to this piece reminded me of that and also made me realize that all these years later, that desire is still there. Three more tunes, “New Day,” “Little Dance,” and “Reminiscing,” bring the album to a close.

Cory has a style on the piano that I found totally relatable, engaging, and enjoyable to listen to. I sincerely liked every song on the album. There is a good deal of heart and soul in his playing that reflects aspects of the experiences that have shaped him. It is inspiring to see how his life and music have come to this point. When I asked him if there was anything in particular that he wanted people to know about, he replied: “Find whatever it is you’re passionate about in life and go after it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be whatever it is you want to be in life. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of you and your dream. Believe in yourself. Dreams do come true.”

 

 

Steve Sheppard from U.K.’s One World Music Radio Reviews Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue Review by Kathy Parsons at MainlyPiano.com

Kathy Parsons, an independent piano teacher dating back to the early 80s, has reviewed over a thousand plus CD’s through the years. She also spends time reviewing songbooks and interviewing piano artists from around the world. I was happy to hear she would review my debut release Out of the Blue, which is here below. If you want more information on Kathy, or would like to know more about her services, do visit her website site at mainlypiano.com

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Out of the Blue is the first full-length CD release from pianist/composer Cory Lavine. A native New Yorker who now makes his home in Tennessee, Lavine has been playing the piano since he was nine. He took lessons for about six years and played in a variety of rock bands. He eventually earned a BA degree in music and sociology, doing youth ministry on the side whenever he could. The music on Out of the Blue was composed between 2009 and 2014, and Lavine had not composed music before that. Inspired by meeting and hearing Whisperings Artists David Nevue, David Lanz, Joseph Akins, and Philip Wesley in concert, that experience gave him the push he needed to start creating his own music. Light and upbeat, the nine piano solos are not overly complicated or challenging to the listener, but their messages are clear and heartfelt. While listening to his music, I get the feeling that Lavine is a genuinely nice person who is hoping his music will create a bright spot among all of the chaos of everyday living – and indeed, it does!

Out of the Blue opens with “Riding the Wind,” a lively piece that parallels life itself: sometimes we have the wind at our backs, propelling us along, and other times, the wind is blowing against us, making progress more difficult. We all experience these changes at some time or other, and this song reflects on that. “Give Thanks” was inspired by a sweet 3-year-old boy who touched Lavine with his innocence and lack of fear. Much of the piece is played in the upper registers of the piano, which almost always sound lighter and more playful. The beautifully poignant “Child’s Wish” was inspired by a young girl’s dream to be at the Grand Ole Opry, a wish being granted by The Make A Wish Foundation. Not surprisingly, this piece also has a feeling of innocence, but also of sadness and poignance. The title track was named because it suddenly appeared, well, you get it. It also refers to those people who travel in and out of our lives, seeming to appear “Out of the Blue.” Reflective and bittersweet, it’s also a favorite. The warm and encouraging “New Day” expresses the hope and optimism of our fresh starts – daily and otherwise. Another favorite, “Reminiscing,” closes the album with a piece about reflecting on the past as well as wondering about the future. The simple melody is gentle and sweet, with just a touch of melancholy.

Out of the Blue signals a bright debut for Cory Lavine, and pianists will be happy to know that the sheet music will also be available shortly. The album is available from corylavine.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.

 

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