Jeff Bjorck | Keepsakes in the Attic

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New Age: Solo Instrumental Easy Listening: Nostalgia Moods: Featuring Piano
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Keepsakes in the Attic

by Jeff Bjorck

On this sixth solo piano CD, Bjorck musically portrays his nostalgic reminiscences, beckoning you back to simpler times, with heartfelt melodies that will evoke your own sentimental memories. Recommended as a welcome escape from current chaos.
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Afternoon Reverie
3:50 $0.99
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2. Returning Home
4:20 $0.99
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3. Mother's Hymnal
4:38 $0.99
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4. Grandad's Rocker
4:03 $0.99
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5. Unrequited
4:44 $0.99
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6. Hearts Far Apart
4:26 $0.99
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7. Groom's First Waltz
3:34 $0.99
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8. Midnight in Moscow
4:27 $0.99
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9. Hope in the Heartache
4:46 $0.99
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10. Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara
3:31 $0.99
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11. Playing Catch With Dad
3:42 $0.99
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12. Justine of County Clare
5:27 $0.99
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13. Nana's Music Box
1:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
After focusing on arrangements of classic hymns and Christmas carols for his past two CDs, Jeff Bjorck has returned to his own musical palette. And this time, his resulting original compositions are all deeply steeped in nostalgia and his love of yesteryear. The title of his sixth CD, Keepsakes in the Attic, is fitting. “Imagine spending an afternoon in a cluttered old attic, rummaging through various keepsakes belonging to you or your loved ones,” he explains. “As you lift each one from its musty wrappings, a flood of emotions floats up and fills the room with vibrant memories, drawing you back to those earlier times and places.” His song titles—such as “Grandad’s Rocker,” “Nana’s Music Box,” and “Mother’s Hymnal”—poignantly suggest encounters with each. “Some of these pieces, like ‘Justine of County Clare,’ are particularly sentimental for me,” Bjork remarks, noting that his grandmother, Justine Avita Mitchell, grew up in County Clare, Ireland, but died two years before he was born. “I never met her, but my mother told me stories about her life before moving to America,” he explains. “I grew up wishing I had known her.” Another personal title for Jeff is “Playing Catch with Dad,” a musical reflection of the times he tossed a baseball with his father in the street in front of their home—“one of my favorite boyhood activities,” he remembers. In addition to his 12 original tunes, Bjorck presents his own arrangement of an old Swedish hymn that also reminds him of his early years. For every selection on Keepsakes in the Attic, Bjorck taps into his love for iconic, turn-of-the-20th-century melodic structures, providing evocative, ardent strains that range from joyful to bittersweet. “I truly hope this CD creates a heartfelt musical space for my listeners,” he says. “A unique spot where they can reminisce about special times in their own lives.”

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Reviews


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Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio

A real feel good album, full of emotion
Keepsakes in the Attic is the latest release from Jeff Bjorck, the opening refrain is called Afternoon Reverie, Bjorck has created, with his deft touch on the keys, the soundtrack to a moment of bliss.
Returning Home follows and you can feel in his performance that there seems to be a level of sincerity and depth that is so meaningful, the escalation in passages and charming melodic narrative are just perfect for the subject matter.
The very respectful and traditional Mothers Hymnal is up next, with a few twists that you may miss if you don’t listen carefully, that are very cleverly played, a really stylish performance.
The opening passage of the next track entitled Grandad’s Rocker is beautiful and creates a real flowing energy in the composition, then the narrative and memories seem to gently take control of a second respectful arrangement that is packed with an emotive performance by Bjorck.
Unrequited has a gentle energy that is rather emotional, Bjorck plays this is akin to picking up an old china doll, as you blow away the dust the shards of memories flood into your mind. The gentleness of performance is them elevated to a really emotional outburst of emotive playing; this is one very real composition that will tug at the heart strings.
On Hearts far Apart, we have a composition that seems to hover in between two worlds, the piece is moving and flows superbly, but there is also an underpinned sense of longing within the performance as well.
Groom’s First Waltz, this is a real keepsake and a little musical moment of happiness that will long be treasured, played with a certain lightness, this one will bring back some memories for us all.
Midnight in Moscow with its powerful and stylish performance draws us a musical narrative of a journey to the capital of mother Russia, there is a real sense of intent here, but also underpinned is a softness of tone as well and a full flowing a proud melody which will transport you all the way there and back, very powerful stuff indeed.
Hope in the Heartache is something very special; it’s a deep and meaningful composition. The mix of both major and minor chords is empowering and the build, progression and conclusion is simply perfect.
Children of the Heavenly Father follows, it’s a glance up into the stars in music, each of our interpretations of, where did we all come from will be different, but music is the only real language that speaks a truth that is undeniable, it moves us and weaves the pattern of our life in a dance of celebration.
Playing Catch with Dad, here Jeff Bjorck shakes off another dusty part of our attic, as we find hidden in the corner, a beautiful memory of unconditional love, when both father and son are totally in the moment and as one. This has a real lightness to it that reminds us all that these memories were real and full of love.
Justine of County Claire is the penultimate piece off the album. This has a real Celtic Feel to it with a beautiful warmth as well; there are some delightful subtleties in performance here that are worth a multitude of listens.
Nana’s Musical Box is the last track off the album, this is such a charming and respectful way to leave, at times it is quite emotive, but always leaves one, with a loving warm feeling, and a very heartfelt sense of a life that has been really lived well, here is an album that will leave you feeling good at every corner.
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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Keepsakes in the Attic" is the sixth solo piano album from composer/ pianist/ arranger/clinical psychologist/ professor / researcher/ hang glider/ 21st century Renaissance Man (whew!) Jeff Bjorck. This is the first album that Bjorck has released that doesn’t begin and end with favorite hymns, but Bjorck’s love of hymns often carries over and influences his original music, as it does with several of the thirteen tracks on this album. Twelve of the pieces are original compositions and one is Bjorck’s arrangement of an old Swedish hymn, “Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara (Children of the Heavenly Father)” that reminds him of his early years. Bjorck’s concept for the album was the idea of spending an afternoon in the attic of an old house, “rummaging through various keepsakes belonging to you or your loved ones” and the emotions that those discoveries and memories evoke. This idea is also the perfect framework for Bjorck’s love for iconic turn-of-the-20th-century melodic structures and the range of emotions they express. It is also interesting to note that the “keepsakes” pictured in the album artwork are actual heirlooms from Bjorck’s family, making this album deeply personal yet universally relatable.

"Keepsakes in the Attic" begins with “Afternoon Reverie,” setting the nostalgic tone of the album with bittersweet grace and elegance. “Returning Home” recalls times driving long distances back to Bjorck’s hometown to visit his parents and the homesick feelings he experienced as he revisited familiar places along the way - feelings that were immediately cured as soon as he walked through the front door. “Grandad’s Rocker” affectionately recalls an old rocking chair and the person who occupied it before it came to his own family - ah, the tales a chair like that could tell! “Hearts Far Apart” was inspired by Bjorck’s own yearning for his wife when they are far apart. With tangible musical expression of deep love, this is an especially moving tribute. “Groom’s First Waltz” is much lighter and happier, reminding me in places of my favorite hymn, “In the Garden.” It begins tentatively, imagining a young groom unaccustomed to dancing, and becomes more confident and flowing as he relaxes and enjoys the dance with his new bride - a sweet and delightful piece! “Hope in the Heartache” is something of a sequel to Bjorck’s 1991 composition, “Waiting For Farewell,” composed during the last weeks of his father’s life. With the recent loss of one of his closest friends, this newer piece is dedicated to his memory and to the hope of seeing him (and his father) again one day. The lighter tone of the closing section reflects on that hope. “Playing Catch with Dad” happily recalls a favorite childhood pastime and time spent with a beloved father. “Justine of County Clare” feels like an older hymn and recalls stories Bjorck’s mother told him about his grandmother, who died two years before he was born. “Nana’s Music Box” ends this beautiful album with an imaginary keepsake, an antique music box that a loving grandmother would allow her small grandchildren to play when they visited her. Played in the upper registers of the piano, this gentle little piece gradually trails off at the end, suggesting that the lid of the music box has been left open so “the echoes and memories can continue on in the listener’s heart.”

I have enjoyed all of Jeff Bjorck’s albums, but I think this is his best and most personal album yet. Very highly recommended!
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Serge Kozlovsky

Writings by Serge Kozlovsky / http://sergekozlovsky.com
The music of Jeff Bjorck is deeply emotional. It touches the soul very strongly and you cannot tear yourself away from these inspirational tunes.

The album opens with a composition “Afternoon Reverie” which penetrates to the depth of your heart and easily evokes memories of the brightest moments of your life. The second composition “Returning Home” continues this mood and you can remember when you were a child and your parents were with you and the future seemed so happy and full of hopes for the better...

There is an important feature present in the music of Jeff Bjorck. It brings you a sense of security and confidence that everything will be fine. Besides, it undoubtedly arouses a strong therapeutic effect and may be perfectly used in the various restoring practices.

I can compare the tunes of Jeff Bjorck with a pure stream of refreshing water. When you drink it, you feel a sense of vivacity. And one wants to live and to create.

The music of Jeff Bjorck has one more important feature. It helps to open your eyes and to see how surrounded world is beautiful. You can see all its incredible colors and inhale its heady scents profoundly.

This music wakes up the imagination and it is very sensual also. Without a doubt you will want to listen to the album “Keepsakes in the Attic” time and again.

What more can be said about this striking release? Classical training is felt in the tunes of “Keepsakes in the Attic”. Especially I sense it in the composition “Midnight in Moscow”.

Jeff Bjorck is a brilliant pianist. The sound of his newest album is refined and it is beyond praise. All nuances of this release are played with a big finesse. Besides, I’d like to pick out the composition “Playing Catch with Dad”. It is filled with deepest emotional experiences and provokes sweet tears of childhood memories.

One wants to believe in yourself with the music of Jeff Bjorck and live life to the fullest…
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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
As the title, “Keepsakes in the Attic,” implies, pianist/composer Jeff Bjorck has created an album filled with nostalgia and treasured memories, both real and imagined. I greatly enjoyed the concept for this album and along with the track notes he has provided for each song, I found myself imagining many of the scenarios he described. And while Jeff’s music is instrumental, it is quite visually evocative and conveys imaginative stories in musical notes, rather than words. This album is Jeff’s sixth release, following a string of well-received and critically acclaimed albums.

The appropriately named opening track, “Afternoon Reverie,” captures the nostalgic mood one might feel while searching through family heirlooms and the bittersweet memories of loved ones long gone. There is a wistful yet warm ambiance to Jeff’s solo piano melody that provides a perfect introduction to the album. This feeling continues into the next track, “Returning Home,” which as Jeff says: “…was inspired by the times I found myself driving from far away back to my hometown and to the house where I grew up.” There is a sense of forward motion in the melody that captures the feel of driving, as well as a sense of anticipation in getting closer to home. While nostalgia is often tinged with wistfulness, here it takes on a more upbeat feeling. The album concludes with a lovely little piece called “Nana’s Music Box,” that recalls the love in a grandmother’s eyes as her grandchildren lift the lid on her antique music box to delight in it’s enchanting song. According to Jeff, “I chose to end this melody by figuratively leaving the lid open so the echoes and memories can continue on in the listener’s heart.”

In today’s world where there is so much fascination with “the latest thing” or what is on “the cutting edge,” I found Jeff’s appreciation for the past to be refreshing. “Keepsakes in the Attic” is a warm-hearted musical journey that I greatly enjoyed taking. I particularly appreciated the wide range of emotions portrayed within its beautiful melodies. Jeff Bjorck is a talented and expressive pianist with a particular gift for sharing evocative stories in song.

To read a full length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: www. michaeldiamondmusic.com
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Donovan Johnson

Reviewed By Enlightened Piano Radio
“Keepsakes In The Attic” is the latest release by piano artist Jeff Bjorck, a New Jersey native who currently lives in Pasadena California. In contrast to much of Jeffs other works, this recording is much less involved musically. It takes a few steps back and embraces elements of nostalgia, simplicity, beauty in it's purest and most natural forms. That's not to say that all of the music on the album is simple, it's not. What I would say however, is that none of the music on the album is difficult or complicated to listen to.

The songs on “Keepsakes” tell stories about the experiences of life, love, and the gift of family. These are tales that will strike a chord with every person who's embraced these things as being a part of their time on this earth. On the whole, the album has a very sweet sound, is optimistic and reflective. Not much brooding or negativity will be found here, which happens to be a trait that I find in some of my favorite albums from this genre. Too often the musically minor, dark, and melancholy songs of the world get the most attention. One would be hard pressed to find much of that variety in this very encouraging piece of work.

The tracks that stick out to me as being the most stirring and pleasing to listen to would be tracks three, seven, and eleven. Track three, “Mother's Hymnal,” has a sound just like it implies. It begins with a rather contemporary introduction, almost prayer like. From there it moves into a very chordal fanfare, which brings to mind the “old standards” in the Lutheran hymn books that I sang out of in our small country church growing up. This section of music evolves into a more fluid arrangement of itself, maintaining the strong melody that can clearly be heard throughout. The melody almost seems to proclaim it's own brand of faith here, beginning with a strong foundation, growing and evolving as the music allows it to. Finally, the piece ends with a classic “walk” downward back to the opening chord. Very typical of the old hymns, and altogether creating a very solid and reverent piece of work.

Track seven, “Groom's First Waltz,” is a lovely waltz which brings to mind a time when families would dance together at the wedding. In these times, a number of dances were common knowledge to the general public, and the waltz was certainly one of them. One can even envision a ballroom while listening to this; the reds, golds and crystal chandeliers. A simply charming piece of music, “Groom's First Waltz” will take you back in time to an era where class was king and marriage celebrations were regarded as the highest celebrations in the land.

“Playing Catch With Dad” is track eleven on the album, and is probably the sweetest of the songs on recorded on this disk. I see a role model and his child while listening to this piece, spending time together and embracing those most important moments in a person's life. Having experienced both roles myself, I can say that this piece speaks to me in a way that is very moving, and meaningful. Jeff has found a way to capture what takes place in the heart during these special times, a true demonstration of his musical and emotional mastery where it comes to the art of creating piano music.

I highly recommend this disk to anyone who enjoys listening to well written, recorded and composed pieces of the piano. It's a recording that's suitable for engaged listening or as pleasant background music, and there's truly something “In The Attic” for everyone to enjoy. Five stars.
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