John Otott | Colors

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental New Age: New Age Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Colors

by John Otott

Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Tesoro
3:24 $0.99
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2. The Wind Song
4:28 $0.99
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3. Illusion
2:58 $0.99
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4. Colors
4:15 $0.99
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5. The Journey
3:37 $0.99
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6. Song of the Willows
4:44 $0.99
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7. Interlude
1:10 $0.99
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8. I Will Sail Away (Solo Piano Version)
4:37 $0.99
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9. A Memory
3:43 $0.99
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10. August and Life
4:11 $0.99
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11. Santa Cruz
4:06 $0.99
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12. An Evening Thought
3:44 $0.99
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13. Soaring
3:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Colors" is the fourth release from multi-instrumentalist/composer John Otott. This 13-track collection of piano-based instrumentals features dramatic and emotional string and keyboard arrangements that were often inspired by events in Otott’s life. A life-long musician, Otott has performed with some of the biggest names in pop and jazz in addition to his own ensembles. He has composed music for numerous television spots as well as for a musical about the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. With those varied influences, it comes as no surprise that Otott’s music is emotionally powerful and evokes vivid visual images. Otott’s 14-year-old daughter, Isabella makes her recording debut on one of the tracks playing violin behind her dad (nice work!), adding another personal element to the project. I also need to mention the outstanding cover artwork, “Grand Piano” by Mark Kazav - very vibrant and eye-catching!

"Colors" begins with “Tesoro,” my favorite track on the album. The title translates to “treasure,” and the piece is both energetic and adventurous with some powerful drums behind the dancing piano. Poignant string washes add an effective contrast to the piano’s energy in several sections, making this piece truly exceptional. I also really like “The Wind Song,” which features Isabella Otott on violin. The bright and fanciful piano again contrasts with the smooth strings in the first theme. The second theme introduces additional instrumentation and rhythmic percussion, evolving into a more flowing melody that ends with the buoyancy of the first theme. Love it! The title track is a group of different musical themes that evoke a variety of colors - sometimes pastel, sometimes dark and dramatic, and sometimes bright and vibrant, it’s a beauty! “Song of the Willows” is a graceful piano solo that successfully captures the movement of these elegant trees in a gentle breeze. I love the short “Interlude,” a playful minor-key waltz that is perfect in its brevity. “I Will Sail Away” is a solo piano arrangement of a piece that appeared on Otott’s "Exit Reality" several years ago. “A Memory” is amazing. It emerged from the emotionally agonizing experience of watching his mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s over the past six years. There is a broad range of emotions, expressed in their purest, most tangible form and will leave the listener stunned. “August and Life” follows and is the polar opposite to “A Memory.” A celebration of the birth of Otott’s daughter, it is joyous exhilaration set to music! “Soaring” brings this exceptional album to a bright and lively close with strings, keyboard and percussion.

"Colors" is recommended!
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Cathy Oakes

Reviewed By Enlightened Piano Radio
John Otott paints vivid pictures without paint. He does it with the beautiful tones of his music. “Colors” is a very fitting title for this CD. It refers to all of the beautiful hues he has used to paint each part of the picture, which becomes a stunning mural as the whole album comes together. Mr. Otott has written music for television clips and Lisa Duke’s “BA,” a musical about the life of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. That influence can be heard in this CD, but it goes so far beyond that to bring a classical influence, his impressive mastery of the keyboard and his talent for writing contemporary piano music together in a truly enchanting way.

Beginning with “Tesoro,” which means “treasure,” he sets the stage for what is to come in the rest of the CD. The music incites anticipation and you know that you are truly about to discover great treasure! The album continues with “The Wind Song,” which is comprised of two very different sections. The light and airy first section lets you float along with a gentle breeze. The transition phrases warn of a brewing storm that is depicted by the stronger feel of the middle section. The piece finishes with the return of the winsome, gentle breeze and finishes with the lightest little “puff” of wind. Otott’s teen-aged daughter recorded the violin parts for this piece. I agree with the comment in his liner notes. “You did great, Izzy!”

The title track, “Colors” begins with a simple statement of what almost sounds like a folk melody. That theme recurs throughout the piece, but is painted again and again in more beautiful and vibrant hues each time it reappears. Once again, the middle section of this “picture” is made up of darker and more complex shades, but returns to the simpler folk feel at the very end.

“Song of the Willows begins with a run of parallel thirds up the keyboard that literally say, “Hey! Listen up!” The willow branches float and frolic in the breeze in this beautiful piece that goes back and forth between a beautiful melody with an almost gypsy feel and bursts of broad, rich chords with the ever-present movement in the left hand. This is one of my favorites!

A quick little waltz, “Interlude” dances on the senses and cleanses the palate for another course of beautiful music. It quickly fades, leaving the listener ready for more.

“I Will Sail Away” is a solo piano version of a song by the same title from Mr. Otott’s CD, “Exit Reality.” And it does just that, taking you on a beautiful journey beyond the mundane, floating on crystal waters.

After reading the liner notes, “A Memory” moved me to tears. It is a raw, organic expression of real emotions from the composer’s experience of watching his mother progress through the stages of Alzheimer’s. This piece took me on a roller coaster ride through pain, sorrow, confusion, joy, and hopelessness and then deposited me finally on the rock of hope. How does a musician express so much of so many emotions on one instrument in only three minutes and forty-three seconds? But Mr. Otott not only proves it to be possible, he does it with grace and beauty!

After the emotional upheaval of “A Memory,” comes “August and Life” with it’s lively, happy, zestful mood. The perfect progression of tracks! It restores joy and lightness to the listener.

“Santa Cruz” allows the listener to join in the enjoyment of, what sounds to me like an afternoon of sun and surf. I love the addition of the drums in this piece!

The next piece, “An Evening Thought” takes the listener to that place just between waking and sleeping when the mind just won’t quiet and thoughts wander through piece by piece.

The final piece is my absolute favorite piece on the CD. “Soaring” takes this listener’s mind on a beautiful journey and allows me to literally soar over the lush redwood forests that run all the way down to the crashing waves of the California coastline. I can almost feel the wind in my wings! What a delightful end to a phenomenal CD!!!!!!

Over and over again as I listened to this CD, I found myself saying, “WOW!” Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck said in New Age Music Reviews, “I think John Otott has been referred to as an emerging artist. I am officially stating that he has arrived with Colors.” I echo that statement loud and clear! John Otott has emerged as a very gifted and talent composer and musician. Watch for his name in the list of nominees for future awards!

Excellent, magnificent work, John! I am once again, restricted by our system of five stars. But I give this CD a very solid 5+ and highly recommend it!
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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Many of the songs on John Ottott’s new release, “Colors,” are inspired by his life events, conveying a true sense of meaning through music. Emotions provide the impetus for much of his composing and the piano is the perfect channel for his expression of them. He also enjoys letting his colors show on drums and percussion, as he does a bit on this recording.

John makes a powerful opening statement on the first track, entitled “Tesoro,” as synthesizer strings swell, punctuated by dramatically placed thunderous drum hits. The piano sweeps in with an introductory melody before the song breaks into full orchestration. John’s background as a rock musician is evident in this section, while other parts reveal different facets of his musical spectrum. This piece has a nice sense of dynamics as it moves through various motifs, ranging from bold to more delicate.

On the album’s title track, the shades it is painted in express deep emotions and perhaps a hint of longing, especially in the beginning. Midway, as the orchestration kicks in, the piece lifts off with a grander feel as the strings accentuate the piano melody. John’s use of synthesizer orchestration here, and throughout the album, is exquisite, and adds just the right shadings to whatever he tints with it. The track called “Soaring,” which brings the album to a close is perhaps my favorite song on the recording, it is also the least acoustic and features some tasteful electronic textures and bell sounds, along with a lofty piano solo in the middle. Its uplifting air provided the perfect finale to the palate of feelings this album represents.

“Colors” paints a bright picture of John’s skills as a pianist, composer, and arranger. This last aspect particularly caught my attention, in his perfectly attuned sense of when, and when not to, bring in strings and other instrumentation.
It certainly does add another dimension – one that gives Colors that extra bit of luminosity. John Otott’s Colors shines with captivating melodies, heartfelt sentiment, and exquisite artistry.

To read a full length review of this CD, as well as others, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com
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