Laima Gaizutis | Simply Beautiful Collection II

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental New Age: Relaxation Moods: Instrumental
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Simply Beautiful Collection II

by Laima Gaizutis

Instrumental music that embraces the soul...listen with closed eyes and you will be swept away by these music gems! An enchanting blend of styles...
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Whispers
4:06 $0.99
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2. Midnight
2:50 $0.99
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3. Touched
3:12 $0.99
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4. I Miss the Laughter Most
2:59 $0.99
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5. Sunlight
4:28 $0.99
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6. Long Summer Night
3:39 $0.99
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7. Stillness
3:59 $0.99
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8. Thanksgiving with You
3:44 $0.99
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9. Lilting
3:06 $0.99
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10. An Angel's Dream
4:59 $0.99
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11. Penny Arcade
4:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Simply Beautiful Collection II" continues my journey back in time, to a simpler life where simply beautiful melodies were captured. Listen to the piano duets that were added throughout the music. I recorded one piano melody and then added the second piano track to provide richness. Nothing like playing a duet by myself!

"Whispers" - An alpine meadow draws you closer to the perfect mountain glen. Flautist: Beth A. Wiehe

"Midnight" - This was originally a piano solo that came about as I was showing my piano student how he could easily play the "Amazing Grace" melody on the black keys. The "Midnight" melody came from this demonstration. I later added the violin and ended up with both instruments having strong melody lines. Violinist: Lauren Chauvin

"Touched" - Eric, a close friend of the family who was suffering with hemophilia, needed a blood transfusion and was unknowingly given blood that was HIV positive. This melody was dedicated to his memory. Violinist: Lauren Chauvin

"I Miss the Laughter Most" - If this sounds like a song, then you are right. Alto Sax: David Caceras

"Sunlight" - the perfect song if you live in Seattle. I need to make a video of this one. I can feel the sun rising...

"Long Summer Night" - I keep wanting to call this a "Hot Summer Night," as it is in Houston. A lot more instrumentation was used in this melody than in any of the other songs on this CD. Jazz Pianist: Buzzy Smith

"Stillness" - brings out the classic in me. Flautist: Beth A. Wiehe

"Thanksgiving With You" - This was the only year that the family was not having the celebration together. So my husband and I had Thanksgiving alone and I wrote this special melody for him that week-end.

"Lilting" - I was told by my copyist that this melody had the feel of Chopin's Berceuse Op.57 in D Flat Major. I do believe there is some truth to that. But then I added a little bit of jazz... Violinist: Lauren Chauvin Flautist: Beth A. Wiehe
Jazz Pianist: Buzzy Smith

"An Angel's Dream" - We all dream, don't we? But is that true for angels? This song was actually sung at two weddings but since I was not going to be releasing a CD of my songs, I wanted to preserve the melody. So now whenever I hear this music I will remember the fabulous weddings where I had the song debuted.

"Penny Arcade" - Why not pick up the pace a bit for the finale? I had such a great time writing this piece as I was dancing in the kitchen at midnight. I used to go to the penny arcade in Cleveland, Ohio and writing this melody reminded me of those days. The big surprise is that I can sleep right through this melody! Still waiting to wake up... Flautist: Beth A. Wiehe
Soprano Sax: Warren Sneed Harmonica: Gary Wiedon

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Simply Beautiful Collection II" is the follow-up to pianist/composer Laima Gaizutis’ 2014 debut (I think you can guess the title!). The daughter of Lithuanian refugees, Gaizutis’ family settled in Cleveland, Ohio when Laima was a young child. She started studying the piano at the age of six, continuing her studies through her college degree at the Eastman School of Music. She made her local television debut in a talent show at the age of nine, played the piano for modern dance classes, and started teaching piano by the time she was a senior in high school. She continues to teach piano in Houston, Texas but did not start composing until the end of 1990 when her husband gave her a digital piano for Christmas, allowing her to record her melodies as she composed them. This literally opened the floodgates, and Gaizutis has worked alone as well as collaborating with several songwriters. She has won numerous local and national awards, and her instrumental melodies have been featured on television and in theatrical productions. Gaizutis’ music is warm and optimistic, often with simple melodies that communicate directly and easily to the listener. The album also features guest artists performing on violin, flute, jazz piano, alto and soprano saxes, and harmonica in addition to Gaizutis’ piano.

"Simply Beautiful Collection II" begins with “Whispers,” a peacefully shimmering duet for piano and flute (Beth A. Whiehe) plus some keyboard enhancements - a lovely start! “Midnight” is gentle duet for piano and violin (Lauren Chauvin) with a slightly Asian flavor. Quiet and very soothing, it would be an excellent addition to a soundtrack. “Touched” also features Chauvin on violin and is abundantly romantic - like a slow dance with a loved one. I suspect “I Miss the Laughter Most” has lyrics, perhaps a mother’s reflections on her children’s youth. David Caceras appears on alto sax, evoking wistful, nostalgic feelings. “Sunlight” is a solo piece for piano with keyboard strings in the background - as peaceful as a spring breeze. “Long Summer Night” is a favorite. Rhythmic and slightly bittersweet, it features Buzzy Smith on jazz piano and a mix of keyboard instrumentation and percussion that give the piece a subtle energy. As its title suggests, “Lilting” is gently uplifting. It is performed on piano, violin, flute, and jazz piano - a lovely ensemble piece! I also really like the sweet innocence of “An Angel’s Dream,” performed on piano with keyboard accompaniment. The closing track, “Penny Arcade” goes in an entirely different direction and is sure to wake you from the reverie of the previous ten tracks. Jazzy, playful, and tons of fun, you can’t help but smile listening to this one!

"Simply Beautiful Collection II" is pleasure to listen to in either the foreground or background. Cheerful and relaxing, it is certain to brighten anyone’s day (or night!). Check it out!
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Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Although Laima has been active in many aspects of the music world over the years, it wasn’t until 2014 that she became a recording artist with the release of her debut album, “Simply Beautiful – Collection I.” Now with the release of “Simply Beautiful – Collection II” Laima continues with another assortment of heartfelt original songs. Adding a variety of musical colors to her compositions are a number of special guests on violin, flute, jazz piano, saxophone, and harmonica. The album opens with a gentle tune called “Whispers.” The song has a pleasant pastoral feel that evokes an image of a flower filled meadow on a summer day, with the flute accompaniment enhancing the feeling of lightness. Laima also accompanies her piano with a string section played on the keyboard that adds a rich orchestral ambiance.

One thing I noticed, even just in the first few tracks, is the way Laima’s compositions sometimes follow unanticipated twists and turns, taking the listener in unique and surprising directions. On a tune called “I Miss The Laughter Most,” a subtle drum loop, saxophone, and touches of ambient synthesizer provide a bit of a light pop feel compared to some of the previous classically influenced tracks. Even more of this style is heard on “Long Summer Night,” with it’s up-tempo drum track and synthesizer textures providing a contemporary feel that combines new age and smooth jazz elements. The more meditative and reflective side of Laima’s musical spectrum is heard on a spacious piano and flute duet appropriately entitled “Stillness.” While I enjoyed all the songs on the album, interestingly, a couple of my favorites were towards the end. Both “Lilting” and “An Angel’s Dream” have a pleasant new age music quality that makes them easy to drift away on.

The musical portraits on “Simply Beautiful Collection II” are painted from a diverse palate of stylistic colors. And even within a composition, various elements present themselves. Many times while listening to a song, a chord change or melodic shift would occur that would make me think, “Wow, where did that come from?” Although Laima has her own distinctive musical vocabulary that is sometimes surprising, it is always accessible and enjoyable. As can be expected from someone with so many years as a piano teacher, Laima’s technique is exquisite, and the orchestral accompaniment that she provides on keyboards, as well as with the collaborators she has chosen, add depth and dimension to her interestingly written compositions. While there are certainly an abundance of piano-based new age albums to choose from, “Simply Beautiful Collection II” provides a unique perspective that many listeners are sure to find intriguing.


To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: www.MichaelDiamondMusic.com
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Candice Michelle

Journeyscapes Radio
“Simply Beautiful Collection II” is the follow-up to “Simply Beautiful Collection” by pianist and composer, Laima Gaizutis. A Lithuanian native currently living in Houston, Texas, Laima began playing piano at the age of six. Featuring eleven piano ensemble pieces which span forty-two minutes, Laima is joined on various compositions by Lauren Chauvin on violin, Beth A. Wiehe on flute, Buzzy Smith on jazz piano, David Caceras on alto saxophone, Warren Sneed on soprano saxophone, and Gary Wiedon on harmonica. The wholesome gracefulness of the compositions is visually interpreted by the album’s lovely floral and butterfly artwork design.

“Whispers” opens the album with piano, flute, gossamer chords and bell-like timbres, possessing a daintily sweet, graceful aura, and setting the tone for the rest of the album. Following next is “Midnight”, a notable highlight led by piano and violin which plays out like a nighttime balcony serenade. The equally touching “Sunlight” almost feels like it could be the aforementioned track’s peaceful morning companion. Guided by a piano melody that is brushed by misty tones, it is at once bright yet subtly poignant. “Lilting” is another enchanting piece that feels like gazing upon an evening sunset, beginning with a familiar classical tune that is woven into an arrangement of piano, flute and a gentle rhythm. The faster-paced “Long Summer Night” is also a delight, with its jazzy flavor, nocturnal mystique and allusion to a moonlight dance. A couple of compositions incorporate gently waltzing rhythms, including “I Miss the Laughter Most”, which features saxophone; and “An Angel’s Dream” with its lullaby-tune. Closing out the album is “Penny Arcade”; this jovial tune is carried by a polka rhythm and features harmonica, curiously deviating somewhat from the refined romanticism of the rest of the album.

Drawing upon classical influences with touches of romantic jazz and easy listening, delicate textures define these elegant piano-instrumental compositions. Like intricately-carved glass figurines that catch the sun’s rays, “Simply Beautiful Collection II” lives up to its promise, both in its refined simplicity and innocent beauty.
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