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Masako | Call of the Mountains

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental New Age: Neo-Classical Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Call of the Mountains

by Masako

Winner of "ZMR BEST PIANO (SOLO) OF 2014" Award!! Produced by Will Ackerman. (Founder of Windham Hill Record) A highly anticipated second album from pianist/composer MASAKO!!
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dawn
2:23 $0.99
2. Kindness from Strangers
4:07 $0.99
3. Bigfoot Forest
3:09 $0.99
4. Watching the Clouds
4:36 $0.99
5. A Highland Tale
2:32 $0.99
6. Reflections
3:23 $0.99
7. The Day of Crossing the Hudson
3:24 $0.99
8. Mountain Trolley Remembered
1:28 $0.99
9. Purple Indulgence
3:58 $0.99
10. Wildflowers
4:06 $0.99
11. Blue Blaze
2:53 $0.99
12. Precious
3:53 $0.99
13. The Other Side of Tristesse
6:27 $0.99
14. Smoky Rain
4:29 $0.99
15. Mt. Katahdin
3:28 $0.99
16. Lullaby for the Hills
4:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Winner of "ZMR BEST PIANO (SOLO) OF 2014" Award!!

Some of the Reviews:

"Just what the Solo Piano genre needed; here we have an album jam packed to the top with total class and creativity, an album superbly produced by Ackerman and Eaton to such a fine level...an album that will move you, bring you peace and liberate you...an album that I would personally recommend for you to place in your musical collection."
- Steve Sheppard, One World Music

“Masako's sophomore release, Call of the Mountains, is another enjoyable collection of understated, lyrical, and evocative compositions ... The overriding sensation is of the artist's expressive sensitivity and tender soulfulness. Masako's playing is engaging from the first note to the last… Call of the Mountains is a recording to savor time and time again, absorbing every nuance of melody, tone and mood. - Bill Binkelman, Zone Music Reporter

"That such perfection and such depth of emotion coexist in her work is the holy grail of recording and production for me…performances of such quality that are so rare as to be nearly mythical.” - Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records



to write a review

Michael Diamond (www.michaeldiamondmusic.com)

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
Masako is a gifted pianist and composer who seems to draw endless inspiration from nature and her surroundings. Call of the Mountains is a musical homage to the northeastern mountains of the United States, where she makes her home. What more appropriate way to begin an album than with a track entitled “Dawn”? Emerging softly over the horizon like the first rays of sunlight on a new day, this solo piano composition is serene and spacious, and is perfect for Masako’s intent to “convey a sense of hope to listeners.” It’s a lovely piece that draws you right in from the first notes. The first of the ensemble pieces is “Watching The Clouds.” After a solo piano intro, Masako is joined on the flute-like wind synthesizer by Premik Russell Tubbs, a master musician who has played with a long list of musical luminaries such as Sting, Whitney Houston, Santana, and more. Also adding to the tune is Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman on guitar (who also produced the album), and percussionist Jeff Haynes, known for his work with the Pat Metheney Group. Like its title, the song drifts by gracefully and stirs the imagination with its play of light and shadow. As on Masako’s previous album, as well as on many Will Ackerman produced projects, the instrumental accompaniment is subtle and supports the musician without overpowering the song’s sensitive melody.

Masako’s playing can range from diaphanous to ardent, sometimes within the same song. A good example is “The Other Side Of Tristesse.” Beginning as a piano solo, she is eventually accompanied by Jeff Haynes on percussion, Will on guitar, and the ethereal vocals of Noah Wilding. On “Smoky Rain.” I especially appreciated how Masako’s left hand outlined arpeggios, while the right hand sprinkled little raindrops of musical notes in the second half. Throughout the album, Masako’s music is painted from a diverse palate of emotions, from the lightest pastels to more deeply saturated hues. Although she is quite capable of dazzling the listener with her formidable skills on the piano, she often chooses to let the melody and the accompanying emotion it is imbued with be the focus. Call of the Mountains is a fine follow up to Masako’s highly regarded debut release that is sure to delight her fans, and create new ones as well.

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

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Call of the Mountains" is the second release from pianist/composer Masako. Equal in beauty to her debut, "Masako," "Call of the Mountains" was also recorded at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont and features guest artists such as Premik, Noah Wilding, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman, Eugene Friesen, Tony Levin, and Jeff Haynes on several tracks. Twelve of the sixteen tracks are elegant piano solos that showcase Masako’s poetic playing style as well as her graceful touch. There are many self-taught musicians whose work I dearly love, but when an artist such as Masako steps in with a lifetime of rigorous training, there is a palpable difference and often, at least for me, a much bigger “WOW!” factor. It has nothing to do with showmanship or playing speed (usually), but the effortless command of the instrument to successfully convey whatever that artist seeks to express.

In her liner notes, Masako explains the origins of this new music. Living in the northeastern mountains of the US, she often has reasons to drive south through the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains to New York City. The ongoing changes in the mountains, river, and sky keep the drive interesting, and Masako says that whenever she walks in the woods she encounters something special. “This album is a tribute to these mountains that I love.”

"Call of the Mountains" begins with “Dawn,” a lovely piano solo meant to be both powerful and sensitive and to convey a sense of hope. Masako is successful on all accounts. “Kindness from Strangers” has a graceful flow that expresses “trail magic,” unexpected kindness from total strangers - a favorite! The dreamy “Watching the Clouds” begins as a piano solo and becomes a gentle quartet for piano, wind synthesizer (Premik), guitar (Ackerman), and percussion (Jeff Haynes). I really like this one, too! Masako says that “Reflections” is one of her own favorites and I can see why. Inspired the colors of fall foliage reflected in a pond or lake, the piece is mostly silky smooth with occasional bursts of sparkling color - gorgeous! “Purple Indulgence” was named for the Purple Loosestrife, a beautiful flowering plant that is an invasive plant species that can disrupt native vegetation. Nevertheless, the piece is a tranquil and leisurely flowing quartet for piano, bass (Levin), wind synth, and cello (Friesen). “Wildflowers” is a piano solo with the simple beauty and grace of its inspiration. “Blue Blaze” picks up the rhythm and tempo a bit. Named for the trail markers that help to keep hikers from getting lost on the Appalachian Trail, the piece expresses freedom and a soul-satisfied joy - also a favorite. “Smoky Rain” is more free-form, painting a peaceful aural picture in shades of blue-gray. “Lullaby for the Hills” brings the album to a close with an enchanting trio for flugelhorn (Oster), cello, and piano. Saying that if she had to choose between an urban life always surrounded by friends or an often lonely life in the mountains, she’d choose the latter, the peaceful contentment of this music is expressed to perfection.

Masako is on her way to becoming a leader in the new age piano/contemporary classical genres. Very highly recommended!

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
While Masako's self-titled debut album showed the intriguing promise of a brilliant new keyboard artist, her sophomore release displays the confident mastery and tempered virtuosity of a venerable veteran musician.

In contrast to the cross-cultural East meets West interplay and atmospheric textures of the first CD, the new album lands solidly in the genre of jazz/new age piano, with the acoustic ivories taking center stage. And with this offering, Masako proves herself worthy of the echelon of preeminent pianists such as David Lanz, Jim Brickman, and Liz Story. I even hear a little bit of Bruce Hornsby in her compositional and playing style.

This is a flawless disc from beginning to end, with one beautiful and mesmerizing piece after another. As they say, the hits just keep on coming.

The majority of the album is just Masako on the piano, and hearing just her on the keyboard is pure bliss. She also receives standout support on four tracks from producer William Ackerman on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Premik Russell Tubbs on wind synthesizer, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jeff Oster on trumpet, and Noah Wilding on vocals.

This is without a doubt one of the best piano-based albums out there.

Serge Kozlovsky

Writings by Serge Kozlovsky / http://sergekozlovsky.com
The beauty of the our world
Inside you
Just have a look

When you want to return your peace of mind, when you are seeking to find a place within you which is always in harmony, even if you are aiming to just relax and get some rest, just listen to this music and it will lead you into uncharted territory, where unbelievable beauty lives. This is such an unusual place. Where is it? Perhaps it is somewhere deep in the mountains, or maybe it is inside your heart. But the incredibly sincere music of Masako certainly will take you there ...it will bring you into your real home…

The music of Masako is like the free flow of the stream, pouring out its pure water on the longing earth. These are very high emotions and full freedom of self expression.

The album “Call of the Mountains” is the second project of the gifted musician. One can say that Masako becomes not just one more star, but the leader in the new age music genre. As was her first album, this release was produced by Grammy-winning guitarist and the founder of Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman and it continues traditions of first-class acoustic music. “Call of the Mountains” will be gourmet food for any new age and contemporary instrumental music lovers.

What else can be said about the new album of Masako? Just listen to this music, feel it, plunge into it deeper and deeper and it will purify your heart from all superfluous because it is a direct conversation between you and the artist who has so much beauty in her heart.