Matthew Cook | By Request

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United States - California

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Classical: New Age Easy Listening: Musicals/Broadway Moods: Featuring Piano
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By Request

by Matthew Cook

This CD is a collection of popular requests from audiences at Matthew's live performances. Combining Classical, New Age, and Jazz piano styles gives the artist a unique and pleasant sound.
Genre: Classical: New Age
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Somewhere In Time
5:44 $0.99
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2. Misty
5:50 $0.99
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3. Memories
5:30 $0.99
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4. As Time Goes By
4:48 $0.99
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5. I Dreamed A Dream
4:55 $0.99
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6. All I Ask Of You/Music Of The Night
9:09 $0.99
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7. On My Own
3:36 $0.99
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8. Don't Cry For Me Argentina
4:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
I am an artist from Northern California. I create environments for people to enjoy. Surrounded by the beauty of our Ancient Redwood Forests, steeped in the stillness and awe-inspiring power of nature, my art speaks of a sense of peace and well-being amid the struggles of being human.

For the last 20 years pianist Matthew Cook has been a treasure known only to those who venture beyond the Redwood Curtain in Northern California. During that time he has logged over 200 live performances each year, delighting visitors and locals alike in the area's finest hotels, resorts and concert halls, and created six wonderful collections of solo piano music on CD.

Whether in concert or in your CD changer, concert and recording artist Matthew Cook delivers a warm, relaxing piano performance that lifts one above the hectic cares of the day. With a heady mix of unique arrangements and emotional playing Cook takes his audience on an eclectic journey through some of the great songwriting of 20th Century America. Drawing on a Classical background and his experiences with Rock and Roll, Country and Reggae bands, Cook has developed a refreshing, melodic approach that showcases his love of this wonderful instrument.

With a repertoire ranging from Scott Joplin to Eric Clapton, George Gershwin to John Lennon, Duke Ellington to David Crosby, Cook treats every song with care, drawing the most out of the melody before taking it to new heights.

In his extensive CD collection Matthew Cook gives a nod to many great songwriters and songs of the last Century. Of the six albums, four of them cover 41 renditions of songs that range from the familiar to the obscure. The titles, Stormy Weather, The Rose, Summertime and By Request, give some idea of the range of material represented but don't tell the whole story. Also included are Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, Ellington's Satin Doll, Denny Sarokin's Sanibel, No Frontiers from Jimmy McCarthy and the Beatles' Dear Prudence.

In addition to songs we all know and love, Cook's performances and recordings also include things not commonly found in the piano repertoire. Storm Warning is one such song written by Terry Britten and Lea Maalfrid and previously performed by Bonnie Raitt. Other examples would be The Dance from Garth Brooks and Wooden Ships from Crosby, Stills & Nash.

One album, Redwood Reflections brings us 12 original piano compositions by the artist. Fostered in the redwoods of Northern California, warm and rich sounds evoke images of nature in this remarkable piano work. A little new age, a little jazz, latin, rock and ragtime sparkle from the pastiche as this hour of delightful music plays through. The ballad If I Could Fill Your Cup and the upbeat El Cuervo are highlights of Cook's live concerts.

The Sounding Joy is a collection of Christmas music. From popular carols to more contemporary songs this album rings in the spirit of the season beautifully.

My life is my art and my art is my life. It has always been thus for me and I have had interesting and rich experiences for it. I have been fortunate to be able to share pieces of that through my music.

Over the years I have developed my own piano style, 'Folk-Jazz' , combining the simplicity, accessibility and personableness of folk music with some of the heady elements of modern jazz.

All of my CDs are high-quality recordings of Yamaha Grand Pianos. 'Summertime' 'The Rose' and 'By Request' were recorded live on a Yamaha C-3. 'Redwood Reflections', 'Stormy Weather', and 'Moondance' were recorded in the studio on a Yamaha C-7.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

Smooth and Elegant!
“By Request” was originally released in 1997 and was remastered in 2002 for a fuller, richer sound. Matthew Cook in a pianist based in Northern California who plays in some of the area’s finest resorts and restaurants. I’m sure the pieces included in this collection are some of his most-requested pieces in this kind of setting, and Cook does a fine job of being true to the original music while personalizing it with his own interpretations and very expressive playing. This collection of eight tracks is made up mostly of film and stage music that has been especially popular over the years.

The CD opens with “Somewhere In Time” from the film of the same name. The sweet and poignant melody sings all the way through this piece, and Cook keeps it clean and uncluttered without a lot of embellishment. I really like his arrangement of “Misty,” the popular standard by Erroll Garner. Cook adds a few flourishes here and there, but his smooth and elegant playing style really shines. “Memory” from “Cats” is one of the most popular songs ever, and Cook’s take on it is straightforward and touching. “As Time Goes By” is another standard that goes back a lot of years, and was featured in “Casablanca” (“Play it again, Sam”); it’s always nice to hear a new take on this classic. Next comes a series of Broadway hits from the past several years. “I Dreamed A Dream” from “Les Miserables” is my favorite of this group. The melancholy melody really sings, and the emotions touch the heart. “Phantom Medley” contains extended versions of “All I Ask of You” and “Music of the Night.” At nine minutes, Cook freely explores these two pieces and gives them full expression. “On My Own” returns to “Les Miz” with another deeply poignant ballad. “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” closes the CD with a powerful and moving version of this hit.

Matthew Cook is one of my favorite artists who does mostly “cover” material because he relies on the melodies and emotions of the music to reach the listener rather than a lot of fancy fingerwork meant only to dazzle. If you like trills and glissandos galore, Cook is probably not your man, but if you enjoy hearing these songs “au naturale,” “By Request” and any of Cook’s other CDs will be a great addition to your collection. Enjoy!
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