Mike Garson | Homage to My Heroes

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Classical: Contemporary Avant Garde: Classical Avant-Garde Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Homage to My Heroes

by Mike Garson

These 16 original compositions - all written in Mike's signature improvisational style - pay tribute to the musical masters who have influenced him over the years. Their intent is to complete the cycle and provide healing, enjoyment and inspiration.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Homage to Chopin & Godowsky
1:48 $0.99
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2. Nocturne Opus 2 in Db
2:43 $0.99
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3. Sonata 13
7:59 $0.99
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4. Butterfly
2:10 $0.99
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5. Homage to Ligeti
2:12 $0.99
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6. Nocturne in B Minor
1:55 $0.99
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7. 3x18
6:27 $0.99
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8. God Speaks 4
2:48 $0.99
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9. Prelude in C Minor
1:11 $0.99
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10. Prelude in F Minor
1:07 $0.99
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11. Prelude in A Minor
0:41 $0.99
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12. Homage to Bach
1:07 $0.99
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13. For Arnold
4:44 $0.99
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14. For Ives
1:26 $0.99
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15. Homage to Prokofiev
1:30 $0.99
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16. Homage to Messiaen
7:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mike Garson: Communicating with Humanity Through Creativity


From Bach to Bowie, east coast to west coast, piano keyboards to computer keyboards, Mike has worked to make the world a more creative, compassionate and compelling place. He remains a man of many talents and limitless inspiration. No artistic medium is off-limits to this avant-garde individual to whom the word "no" is quickly - and seemingly effortlessly - transformed into the word "now."

Best known for his impressive skills as a pianist, he is a respected composer and a budding computer artist. Embracing the idea of the "Renaissance Man," Mike continually experiments with new ways through which he can communicate his humanistic ideals.

Mike's story begins at the age of seven, when he began to study the classics. He was drawn magnetically to the piano and by his fourteenth birthday Mike was modifying complex Chopin and Mozart compositions to suit his ear for embellishment.

By his late teens, Mike discovered jazz and the allure of improvisation - a pivotal moment in his artistic development. Mike is now considered one of the greatest musical improvisers of his era.

In fact, his exceptional improvisational abilities were a highlight of the January 2004 Keyboard Magazine cover story featuring Mike.

Mike's love of improvisation is most evident in the signature style of musical composition he has developed under the NOW! MUSIC® brand. Unveiled in 1995, this innovative approach to contemporary composing transfers his knowledge of improvisation into the classical realm. Using a Yamaha Disklavier piano, Mike composes sonatas, nocturnes, ballades and concertos in real-time. The result is refreshing, inspirational and always original music.

Mike's inaugural NOW! MUSIC® album, released in 1998, was followed by the 2004 release of "Homage to My Heroes," another independent album recorded in a similar style. He has also recorded twelve traditional solo albums including "Admiration," "Avant Garson," "Gershwin Fantasia," "Jazzical," "Mystery Man," "The Oxnard Sessions, Volumes I and II," "Serendipity" and "Remember Love."

Beyond his NOW! MUSIC® pieces, Mike has many years of traditional composing to his credit. Over the course of his career, Mike has written several thousand pieces of music in a variety of genres. While many artists prefer to remain within one genre, Mike remains open to artistic expression in any format.

"If I am truly passionate about what I do, that feeling can inspire people who receive my art," Garson believes. "As a musician I'm not concerned with whether I play jazz, rock, classical, or pop so long as it's creative."

It stands to reason that, when Mike sits down at a keyboard, the result is usually a passionate musical performance. However, while touring with the Smashing Pumpkins in late 2000, Garson discovered another creative outlet: the computer keyboard. Using various programs on his MAC laptop, Garson has designed imaginative imagery in much the same way that he composes his NOW! MUSIC®. On April 12, 2004, Portland's Brian Marki Fine Art Gallery hosted a premiere reception of his avant-garde artwork.

Titled "From Pianos to Pixels: The Improvisational Art of Mike Garson," the event showcased Garson's improvisational musical ability and engaging visual artistry - challenging him to compose music for pieces of art chosen by the audience.

Individuals who purchased pieces at the reception - or at any time during their display through the end of April - will receive a collector's edition CD of the one-of-a-kind performance. Garson's artwork was well received by the Portland community. According to John Foyston of The Oregonian:

"If Mike Garson is not a renaissance man, he'll do until one comes along, because this longtime keyboardist with David Bowie's band is also an accomplished visual artist in his own right. The images range from Kandinsky-esque splashes of color to what look like tweaked photomicrographs of crystals. They're all fascinating pieces and suggest that Garson has at least a second career ahead of him."

Of course, Mike remains committed to his first career: music. In 2002, Mike completed his first symphony entitled "Symphony 5.1." Mike structured this piece based on the form of Beethoven's 5th Symphony out of infinite admiration for the renowned composer. Two years earlier, in 2000, Mike also finished his first piano concerto.

A philosopher at heart, Mike's music reflects the often arduous world in which he lives while communicating hope for an improved existence. In response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, he composed a moving piece entitled "Prayer for New York." To commemorate the arrival of a new century - and a new millennium - Mike composed "Requiem for the 20th Century."

1999 saw the release of the MGM film "Stigmata" for which Mike co-composed the score with Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Among their collaborations was the haunting hit "Identify," which was performed by Natalie Imbruglia. (Mike also performed with the Pumpkins during their 1998 Adore tour and their final concerts in 2000).

Further demonstrating his flexibility, Mike has also composed ten pieces for Andres Cardenas, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and improvised a series of duets with saxophonist Dave Liebman. In 1998, Mike was commissioned by Eddie Daniels, Larry Coombs and Ricardo Morales to compose a clarinet suite performed at the Ohio State University Clarinet Festival.

After playing only eight bars for Mick Ronson in late 1971, Mike was asked to join David Bowie's first North American tour. In the more than 30 years since, Mike has made his mark on Bowie albums such as "Reality," "Earthling," "Outside," "The Buddha of Suburbia," "Black Tie, White Noise," "Aladdin Sane," "Diamond Dogs," "David Live," "Pin-Ups," "Young Americans" and "Ziggy Stardust the Motion Picture." He has traveled thousands of miles on Bowie tours for 33 years, including his 2003-2004 "A Reality Tour," Bowie's first world tour in 20 years.

"It is pointless to talk about his ability as a pianist; he is exceptional," Bowie says of Mike, "However, there are very, very few musicians, let alone pianists, who naturally understand the movement and free thinking necessary to hurl themselves into experimental or traditional areas of music, sometimes, ironically, at the same time. Mike does this with such enthusiasm that it makes my heart glad just to be in the same room with him."

Mike's solid reputation for creativity and quality has motivated many other musicians to invite him to record on their albums. Trent Reznor - whom Mike first met during David Bowie's 1996 "Outside" tour - featured Mike on several tracks of Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile." Mike can also be heard on Seal's "Human Being" as well as a bonus track at the end of No Doubt's "Return of Saturn" album.

From 1982 until 2004, Mike was a member of Free Flight, a jazz and classical ensemble featuring renowned flutist Jim Walker. In addition to serving as the group's pianist, Mike composed most of their music. Free Flight appeared four times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and performed a concerto with the L.A. Philharmonic.

For the 1988 ABC television movie "Liberace," Mike performed all the piano works in the style of the flamboyant performer.

In his youth, Mike studied classical composition with Leonard Eisner of Juilliard and earned degrees in Music and Education from Brooklyn College. He also studied with Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Hal Overton, Robert Starer and Lennie Tristano. He has played with Stanley Clarke, Elvin Jones, Lee Konitz and Freddie Hubbard.

A lifelong learner, Mike has taught students at master classes and through private instruction. Mike has appeared at universities around the world where he has both guest lectured and performed for numerous music students and public audiences. Currently, masters and doctorate-level music students at the University of Southern California taking a course in 20th century classical music are required to perform one of Mike's classical pieces. He has also authored seven musical instruction books published by Warner Brothers and Alfred Publishing Company.

He performed and taught at the 2002 World Piano Pedagogy Conference where he received a standing ovation after a series of improvisations based on a Paganini theme. In recognition of Mike's mastery of the piano and his composing skills, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the world-famous Beethoven Society.

Embracing the idea of creative, spiritual and professional growth, Mike continues to explore new avenues through which he can use his multifaceted talents to provide healing, enjoyment and inspiration to people.

Ironically though he is publicly known for his skills as a pianist, composer and artist, it is his selfless love for family and friends that has made Mike the happiest.

And so, as he celebrates his 60th year in 2005, Mike remains grateful for the enduring gift of friendship and family and looks forward to many more decades of meaningful music and creative contributions. According to Mike:

"If I am truly passionate about and love what I do, I believe that feeling can be transmuted to and inspire the people who receive my art."

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Reviews


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Linda Crosby

Mike Garson - Latest CD - He's An Extraordinary Pianist!
Homage To My Heroes is a beautiful reflection of the awesome talent of Mr. Michael Garson.


This CD is refreshing for me to listen to. It is a change from what I normally listen to. As it is all instrumental, it forced me to concentrate on Mike playing the piano. He's incredible and flawless. His fingers just glide over the keys turning the song into an emotional experience.

As a former musician, saxophone and piano, I naturally enjoy and appreciate music highlighting each of these instruments.

When I studied the piano, I focused on classical composers. My favorite was Beethoven. I can understand why Mike is dedicating these songs on his recent CD to his HEROES. I think of how much these HEROES are appreciating Mike's dedication and HOMAGE to them through the CD. What a wonderful way to say Thank You!

As I listen to Mike's solo work on this CD, the level of intensity and complication just blows me away as I think that this same performer is also along side and responsible for the sound I hear with my favorite artist David Bowie. That I have had many opportunities to experience the talents and wonderful showmanship of Mike Garson by being Bowie's longstanding keyboardist.

I feel honored to submit my review and deep down it is difficult to express in words how much this CD means to me, other than it's something everyone should have an opportunity to hear and appreciate.

My regards to Mike and his family!
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keiths

Kinda ambient with a feel of The Enid. Check it out
An interesting album more in an ambient/neo-classical feel than 'Bowie' influenced'. Dreamy but at times sinister and dark. A thing of beauty and some wonderful keyboard playing.

Great to listen to through headphones or as background music but not one for the car.

Fans of the Enid and their ilk will adore it. Investigate now!
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Jason

BUY THIS CD!
I loved this CD - beautiful touch, creative approach, a great abundance of talent without wearing it on his sleeve. Everything on it sounds perfect. (And the production quality is excellent). Two friends recently heard me playing this CD at different times, and both asked who it was. (Of course the cheap bastards won't buy it, but you should!)
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Lindzay Crosby

I waited and I found a peaceful place and time to listen to Mike Garson’s origi
There are few who are able to improvise as well as Mike Garson and make music more listen able, especially for those like myself who have an untrained ear. The trills that Mike Garson includes in his compositions excite me and so does the permissible currency of sound. The sound is not overbearing neither is it abstruse but it has an intricate message. I imagine I can see the Maestro’s hands playing and with that the music is quite stimulating.

I particularly enjoy the sense of urgency in the opening piece Homage to Chopin & Godowsky. Chasing after each note as I listen is very exhilarating. The next piece Nocturne Opus 2 in Db I found thoughtful and I just sank back in my chair ready to enjoy what I believe to be a fine collection of compositions.
Listening To Mike Garsons music inspires good memories and moments of wonder and not once did I feel threatened by its environment .To sum up I would say that Mike Garson has fingertips that move like a painters brush and leave an indelible imprint.

Lindzay Crosby
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Lynn B. Tivens

...I especially enjoyed how exquisite Garson's piano sounds.
This is truely an outstanding recording and I especially enjoyed how exquisite Garson's piano sounds.

There are moments where the music is rich with melody and the sounds just flow through the audio equipment and into your very soul. And then there are portions of the music that are very prescussive with a whole different level of emotion that seem to roar out at you, forcing the listener to take notice of Garson's flying fingers and wild musical magic.

There wasn't a single note on this CD that didn't move me in some way or another. A real powerful representation of what Mike Garson is musically about.

I would have to rate this CD/Musical Experience 9 pianos out of a scale of 5. Garson is way over the top on this one, and I think Mike has set a standard in his performance, that will be very difficult to beat. I am not sure that there any other pianists in the world today that can compare to Garson's musical style, passion, and creativity.
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Andrew Wiggins

Incredible talent, wonderful music
If ever you're in doubt of Mike's talent all you have to do is just listen to him. What he does with a piano is simply remarkable and this is no less true of the new album. Homage To My Heroes is entirely Mike, no one else and no accompaniment and yet bare it is not. His flighty fingers create great layers of music and its quite unbelievable that one person can achieve this on a keyboard and furthermore each of the 16 tracks are Mike's own compositions. I'm not familiar with all of the heroes to which Mike is paying an homage, but I am without doubt that each would be honoured and impressed with the techinical excellence and passion that quite obviously pervades the entirety of this album.
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Jack Schell

This music is very grounded, at the same time soars through infinite dimensions
Homage to my heroes breaths fresh air into some classic music forms. But Mike has been doing that for years. This music is very grounded, and at the same time soars through infinite dimensions…. instantaneously.
I hear the culmination and influences of great pianists and composers of many musical styles all rolled into fresh, new Garson music.
Butterfly is like a warm spring day with the freshest of air. While track 14 reminds me of a great black and white horror movie soundtrack that jumps off the screen and chases you down the block! God Speaks has a beautiful Bill Evans like feel to the song.
I think Mike’s heroes are smiling and enjoying the music as much as the rest of us are. Thanks Mike!
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Lenny

he is fantastick
this is music that musicians would appriciate after
getting over the initial shock.
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PatsDragon


I Truly enjoyed Mikes new CD Homage to My Heroes
My favorite is track 4 Butterfly it captures the flight and the heart of a butterfly
Maybe he could do a piece on the flight of a dragon some time :)
Thank You
PatsDragon
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Gina Rohekar

Brilliant, creative soundscape.
"Homage to My Heroes" is a brilliant, creative soundscape created by Mike Garson. This album is fabulous to listen to. What an incredible performer!
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