Rob Schwimmer | Beyond The Sky

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Classical: Impressionism Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Beyond The Sky

by Rob Schwimmer

Piano music with a sensual core--Sometimes quiet and intimate, sometimes wild and thrilling--Always beautiful, personal and magical (one track features theremin)
Genre: Classical: Impressionism
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hello Again
1:18 $0.99
2. Ostinato
0:39 $0.99
3. Orpheus
1:50 $0.99
4. Waltz For Clara (piano version)
3:11 $0.99
5. Hello, Again #2
2:10 $0.99
6. I Would Talk With My Dad
2:39 $0.99
7. Holding You In My Arms
3:30 $0.99
8. Conversation
1:35 $0.99
9. Quicksilver
0:45 $0.99
10. Repeated Notes
0:35 $0.99
11. Beyond The Sky
1:35 $0.99
12. Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime
4:53 $0.99
13. Never Never Land
4:04 $0.99
14. Double Helix
2:42 $0.99
15. Atmospheres
2:57 $0.99
16. Inside
1:36 $0.99
17. Waltz for Clara (theremin version)
2:40 $0.99
18. All The Things You Are
2:42 $0.99
19. Stormy Weather
5:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Gramophone January 2008
"Extraordinary...harmonically ravishing...a dazzling two-handed ostinato-based piece(where Oscar Peterson and Sergei Prokofiev break bread)... a most stimulating release that stays fresh after countless rehearings"

All About Jazz--NY
"Shaping up to be the finest solo piano CD of 2007...Once in a great while in the musical incubator of the NYC downtown club scene, a truly musically sophisticated work with broad appeal emerges as if from nowhere. The truth, of course, is that these gems are the result of years of hard work, artistic development and unique musical vision: all these crystallize in the wonderful Beyond the Sky... dazzling technique...His complete mastery of dynamics and transition remind of how that which is left unsaid can be delicately powerful, with achingly beautiful quiet passages deftly contrasted with forte.
ELLIOTT SIMON, All About Jazz--NY 8/07

The Sunday New York Times Arts & Leisure
"Dancing easily between both (classical and jazz) worlds...machine-gun speed and clarity...dense, rhythmically involving work...unequivocally classical pieces... Mr. Schwimmer draws on the kind of dark harmonies more typical in Frederic Rzewski’s concert music than in jazz...crisp, disciplined keyboard technique that thrives best in rhythmically complex and coloristically varied music..."
ALLAN KOZINN, The Sunday New York Times Arts & Leisure section 3/25/07

"Beyond the Sky is fantastic! In every way--writing, playing and pianistically. Dynamically. Lyrically. I could go on... Congratulation, you're killin', man!"-- MICHAEL BRECKER, Grammy winning jazz saxophonist/composer

Time Out New York
"Substantial artistry...a genuinely impressive sense of structure (in his compositions) with a jazz-fueled spontaneity and an ear for instantly memorable melodies in these clever, attractive original, compelling voice...a vivid imagination that recognizes no borders."
STEVE SMITH, Time Out New York 3/22/07

"Legendary keyboard talents...astonishing artistry...amazing pianistic skills, incredible improv abilities, compositional brilliance, and theremin chops. This is exquisitely beautiful music."
ERNIE RIDEOUT, Keyboard 2/07

"Meaningful, intelligent and evocative music--Not to mention great piano playing! "

San Diego News
"Brainy and dreamy" CHARLENE BAINBRIDGE 4/07

New York Post
"Mary's Pick of the Week"

"(One of) downtown's best piano talents" The New Yorker

"With Schwimmer, more is more" Jazziz

"Theremin Master" The New York Times

Utterly unique...Virtuoso in the extreme...One of a kind...Such great surprises! The structures are so thoughtful and complete...I couldn't wait to hear the next track...The most imaginative version of Stormy Weather I've ever heard...The world deserves to hear you! --LEONID HAMBRO, renowned classical pianist/ piano competition judge

Astounding. Extraordinary. Other Worldly (Hence the title?) Those Hands...That Brain!Passion and Intellect in equal measure. Congratulations. All The Things You Are Rocks! -- VERNON REID, guitarist/composer (Living Color)

It's brilliant. Holding You In My Arms is gorgeous…
ADAM GUETTEL, Best Musical Score Tony 2005 Composer of "Light In The Piazza"

This solo piano exploration by Rob Schwimmer is full of passion and love...his execution and ideas flow with a beautiful sense of freedom that captures you from his first phrase to the last. --JOE LOVANO, acclaimed jazz saxophonist and composer

Not only is Rob Schwimmer one of my first call piano players, he's also a great artist in his own right. His compositions, technique and interpretation all come together on Beyond The Sky--Some of the best piano playing I've ever heard! --ARIF MARDIN, legendary producer, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

Rob Schwimmer uses the piano like a French impressionist painter uses a brush… painting scenery, mood and atmosphere taking me to strange and beautiful places. This music is incredible, very original, takes great chances and I've never heard anything quite like it before--I love it! He is a true artist. --GEOFFREY HOLDER, Tony Award Winning Director, Actor, Choreographer

Rob Schwimmer tells compelling stories with his fingers. When they connect with a piano keyboard, the music connects with us, and we hear passions, adventures, love stories, and tall tales, all told in an involving, personal style. --DAVID GARLAND, WNYC New York Public Radio

It's absolutely beautiful - beginning to end. I can't thank you enough for sending it to me. The production values, the compositions... the whole 9 yards - just delicious!--
ELLIOTT RANDALL, Steely Dan guitarist "Reelin' In The Years", etc

Really enjoyable and quite impressive... an incredible musician and a fantastic theremin player!-- ELLIOTT SHARP

What a sensational album! You play wonderfully, but I am more taken by your music--The album is a great accomplishment.--GEORGE STEEL, Executive Director Miller Theatre, Columbia University

I enjoyed it very much! Great compositions and great playing!!! You sound great.--URI CAINE

The CD lives in my car player out here in LA. JACK DOUGLAS, producer John Lennon (Double Fantasy), The Who (Who's Next), Miles Davis, Aerosmith, etc.

I was really impressed--Great playing and superior sound. You sound wonderful, really. FRED HERSCH, Grammy nominated composer/pianist

I listened to your amazing CD tonight. I don't know what to say: I was blown away, really surprised by your references, your past, your ear, your agility, your taste. Thanks for letting me hear it! JONATHAN SHEFFER, conductor, artistic director (Red, An Orchestra/ Eos Orchestra), composer

It's Beautiful! Subtle, intriguing music. If Skriabin grew up listening to the best American pop, he would sound something like this. --LIMOR TOMER, Whitney Museum Adjunct Curator of Performing Arts, Music Curator at BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, Symphony Space

Rob Schwimmer is an insanely great player --ERNIE RIDEOUT, editor KEYBOARD


Rob is a technical and musical virtuoso…A monster of the piano ATTENCION (Mexico)

Master Improvisor WNYC Radio

...grace with power OPTION

Brilliant! El Independiente (Mexico)
While Rob Schwimmer has worked with some of the preeminent artists of our time (including Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Simon and Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Bette Midler, Queen Latifah, Arif Mardin, Adam Guettel, T-Bone Walker, etc.) his own music has been elusively hard to come by. While playing with all the aforementioned artists exhibits great versatility, it does little to prepare one for the singular strength of his own personal musical vision.

From his Suite, in turns virtuosic, inward-looking, and evocative of another place/time, through the wistful Two Songs Without Words, the mysterious little dances and prismatic distortions of his Four Miniatures, the explorations of tonality, contrapuntal freedom, and conversational interplay of Three Tone Poems, the quiet intimacy of Prelude and Postlude, the passionate theremin/ piano elegy Waltz For Clara and, finally, the lyrical bending and re-casting of four Hallucinations On Popular Songs, revealing himself a master musical storyteller.

Don't forget to see the CUSTOMER REVIEWS!
One of the founders of the legendary Polygrah Lounge, Rob Schwimmer is a composer-pianist and thereminist who has performed and recorded throughout the world. His work has been described as "... a brilliant meld of musical discipline, sensuality, technical acumen, and freedom"--A combination that has made Rob's debut solo piano album Beyond The Sky so highly anticipated. His personal vision of music reflects a unique and probing sensibility combined with his vast experience in many genres with great and fascinating artists.

Rob is also one of the few theremin virtuosos in the world, performing as featured theremin soloist for many projects including the upcoming movie by R.W. Goodwin (producer/director/writer of X-Files) Alien Trespass, Matthew Barney’s epic movie Cremaster 3, CBS television series Now and Again and A&E's Breakfast With the Arts (as well as giving Sara Fishko a theremin lesson on the nationally broadcast Studio 360 on NPR). Hailed as a "Theremin master" by The New York Times, he is an original member of the NY Theremin Society and was one of the chosen participants in the historic (and sold out) 10 Piece Theremin Orchestra at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. His previous CD Theremin Noir featured pianist Uri Caine and violinist Mark Feldman. Rob recently premiered his 23 minute work "Pellucid Dream(s) for Theremin" which was commissioned by The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for ISSUE Project Room.

His compositions have been featured in theater, television series and movies, documentaries and feature films including the 2008 Academy Award nominee "Freeheld" (composer) and "Dear Diary" (Dreamworks SKG first Oscar w. Bebe Neuwirth) Academy Award Winner, Best Live Action Short Film 1997 (additional music).

He is a founding member of the highly acclaimed Polygraph Lounge music and comedy duo with multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart (Bang On A Can Allstars). Other collaborations include The Zmiros Project (CD) with Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg (The Klezmatics).

He was picked to play keyboards, theremin and sing in the elite touring band for Simon and Garfunkel’s "Old Friends" North American and European tours (2003-2004) and appeared in their CD/DVD "Old Friends: Live On Stage". He has worked with Wayne Shorter, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Laurie Anderson, Bette Midler, Queen Latifah, Arif Mardin (Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), Adam Guettel (2005 Tony), T-Bone Walker, Sam Rivers, Marc Shaiman, The Klezmatics (2007 Grammy), Matthew Barney, Ang Lee, Mary Cleere Haran, Maria Schneider (2005 Grammy), Annette Peacock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marshall Brickman (2006 Tony Nominee), Mabou Mines, Geoffrey Holder, John Cale, Steve Buscemi, Theo Bleckmann, John Stubblefield, Burt Bacharach, Edie Brickell, Teo Macero, Hal Willner, Vernon Reid, The Everly Brothers, Ethel, James Emery, Kurt Vonnegut, Anjani Thomas, Odetta, Drepung Loseling Tibetan Monks, Joseph Jarman, Alwin Nikolai/ Murray Louis Dance Company, Henry Jaglom, Talujon Percussion Quartet, Fred Anderson, Marc Ribot, Frank London, C&C Music Factory and Sammy Davis Jr.

Rob's appearances as featured soloist with orchestras include The Little Orchestra (Lincoln Center); the New Haven Symphony Orchestra (Yale); and Red, An Orchestra (Cleveland.) He has played venues all over the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, 92nd St. Y, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Madison Square Garden, The Blue Note, CBGB’s and the Colosseum (Rome) before a crowd of over 600,000.

Schwimmer's work can be heard on CBS/Sony, Warner Brothers, Toshiba/ EMI, Def Jam/ Island, Manhattan/Blue Note, Dorian, NHK, Capricorn, Evidence, Knitting Factory, Polystar, Traditional Crossroads, Dreamworks SKG, Universal Pictures, TriStar Pictures, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, CBS, NBC, ABC, Discovery, Lifetime, Noggin, A&E, NPR and Nickelodeon.



to write a review

John Webb Kline--keyboardist

Instantly my favorite piano album ever.
I've been waiting for 35 years for Rob to release this project. I can't remember a time when he wasn't the best pianist I had ever heard. But now the ups and downs of his 50-something-years of life have instilled in him an emotional side that equals his sheer technical prowess, making this ingenius masterpiece well worth the wait.

My first listen immediately took me through those emotions with tears and laughter of my own, while I sat awestruck by some of the most innovative, creative musical explorations I can think of, executed with technical skills that, in my opinion, are unparalleled. Rob always has demonstrated an uncanny command of left/right hand independence, as well as inconceivable razor-accurate, lightening-fast speed--and both are flawlessly showcased here.

Beyond the Sky is probably a better autobiography of Rob Schwimmer, the musician, than he could ever articulate with the written word. Rob's talents have found their imprint on a diversity of musical genres from Willie Nelson to Wayne Shorter, from Simon and Garfunkel to the Drepung Loseling Tibetan Monks, from the Everly Bros. to Chaka Khan. Yet this solo project, Beyond the Sky, defines Rob Schwimmer, the musician, as well as the person, like nothing else possibly could.

It has instantly become my favorite piano album

Artemis Green

On a scale of 1-5, it's a 10+. His music is BEYOND COMPARE. There aren't enough adjectives in an unabridged thesaurus to describe how breathtakingly beautiful, how exquisite this is. SUMPTUOUS.
Immerse yourself in it and know you are hearing ONE OF THE GREATEST PIANISTS WHO HAS EVER LIVED.
Stop reading. Click on the order link. Get one for yourself and more copies for everyone you already buy presents for. Now you're in excellent shape for various Birthdays and The Holidays. STOP READING & ORDER NOW.

Michael Klementovich

What a display of creative genius.
This is what i call a totally creative masterpiece of piano genius. Well recorded, and what emotion!!! I did some gifting of this CD this year and I had 2 friends request additional copies for their friends. Is that an endorsement or is it not??? In a day and age when everyone thinks they can do a great CD and thinks they are good artists I find that they are just "Legends in Their Own Minds." Not this artist...he is the "READ DEAL" and so is this recording.

Susan Fraser

Unparalleled creative genius and technical perfection at its best.
Unparalleled creative genius and technical perfection at its best. The music says it all. Well worth the wait.

'Philly' Bill Weir - Bassist

An Unparalleled Musical Journey!
Let's get right to the bottom line - Rob Schwimmer's composition and playing on this CD is pure, haunting musical genius. Anyone who is looking for a completely fresh musical keyboard approach needs to tune out the busy world around them and join Rob as he takes you on his musical journey 'Beyond the Sky'. It is piano and man, and the line is blurred as Rob channels his creative talents - you can hear, feel and connect with every note and phrase.
It grabs you that much.

From start to finish, this collection of songs, mini themes, and sheer piano expertise is full of twists and turns, subtle and not so subtle piano dexterity that leaves you wondering 'how did he do that'?! Suprises abound - check out the thermin, or his expert use of left hand melody. All of it done with no safety net.

If you are looking for a musical journey that equates to that movie, book, or show that leaves your mind in a beautiful tangle of thought and short of breath at times, this is the CD that will do it. Highly recommended.

Sid Huang

International Man of Mystery
Some of the best music you will hear, and yet have the damndest time describing to anyone. I had an art teacher who told me that the best art has mystery in it, and this music has that in spades. Not so much genre bending as genre reinvention. All with a kind of effortless virtuosity that just kind of slips into your brain.

And you WILL want to play it over and over again.

Kip Rosser

The difference between the paints of a Van Gogh, a Picasso and an O’Keefe is the way they’re used, filtered through the singular vision of the artist. The same can be said of musicians as well. Exceptional pianists, particularly in the field of jazz, produce sounds across musical canvasses that are unique to the artists. The visions, sensibility and musicianship of these artists enable the listener to recognize a Bill Evans, a Marion McPartland, an Erroll Garner or Oscar Peterson. Yet, just as with painters, it’s a rarity when something entirely unique surfaces.

I believe composer/pianist Rob Schwimmer, on his brilliant CD, Beyond the Sky, is as distinctive and innovative an artist as I’ve ever heard. That is to say, this is a body of work that sounds new. It makes for some really adventurous listening – beyond classical, beyond popular, beyond jazz, beyond … well, just beyond.

Beyond the Sky covers so much atmosphere (as opposed to covering ground – since it’s the sky we’re talking about) that it’s impossible to address each track. The CD is divided into nine sections, each comprised of individual tracks. The disk begins with the Prelude, Hello Again – a warm and deceptively simple melody, an invitation to venture further in, but even here, the harmonies speak of a deep understanding and extensive musical vocabulary.

Early tracks like Ostinato and Orpheus make clear the startling technique Schwimmer has at his command. His Waltz for Clara, a piece written in memory of the late theremin virtuosa, Clara Rockmore, demonstrates a beautiful approach to melody, combining a romantic feel with a wholly contemporary melody line. The same waltz returns later on the disk in another incarnation, and somewhat more melancholy evolution of the composition featuring the composer on both piano and an actual theremin.

Two Songs Without Words consists of I Would Talk with My Dad and Holding You in My Arms. Each piece, in its own way carries both a joy and sadness it the heartfelt melodies.

There are also two sections on the disk entitled, Two Hallucinations on Popular Songs. Here, Schwimmer accomplishes staggering re-imaginings of old standards like Never Never Land, Buddy Can You Spare a Dime, and Stormy Weather. Here again, the broad musical vocabulary is in full evidence as the songs drift perfectly from tastes of classical to tin-pan alley to Schwimmer’s own artfully lopsided harmonies (I mean this in a good way!) These pieces just have to be heard to be believed. Nowhere has Stormy Weather’s blend of pain, loss and hope for renewed romance been more evident than in Rob Schwimmer’s ominous rumblings of distant thunder underpinning the familiar melody.

It becomes increasingly clear as one listens, that Mr. Schwimmer is exploring, taking himself beyond the sky, and it’s a pleasure to follow. For him, the saying, “the sky’s the limit, just doesn’t apply. He truly does move his compositions, his reach, and the listener to a place beyond. It’s a journey that promises still more from someone who’s sharing a vision of new musical territory. I, for one, am going to tag along.