New Age Instrumental Review: Peter Calandra-Inner Circle

Release Date: May 1, 2014
Label: pcm

Peter Calandra is a New York based keyboardist, composer and producer. His talents range from soundtracks in film, television and several Broadway productions, teaching Masters level music classes in music technology and he has several albums to his credit. Inner Circle is a tribute to the fans and family that have been with Calandra through his long and highly successful musical career. Contributing artists on the album include: Joy Askew (vocals and vocal sampling), Tom Barney (acoustic bass), Ralph Farris (violin, viola), Kathy Halvorson (oboe), Kathleen Nester (flute and piccolo), Peter Prosser (cello), Stomu Takeishi (fretless electric bass) and Peter Calandra (piano, electric keyboards, percussion, as well as all digital sequencing, composition and programming).

 “Inner Circle” is the title track to the album. Working with the son montuno and tumbao rhythms of Cuban music, Calandra combines them with String Quartet writing, using the harmonic language of Debussy to paint a timeless tapestry of sound. I could not have picked a clearer example of this artist’s stellar musical vision and application. The light and airy quality of the textured layers is a phenomenal mix of whimsy and resolute beauty.

“Nightwatch” is a piece drafted from memories of Calandra’s job as a night watchman at the small village public marina near his home in Long Island when he was a teenager. Playing his Fender Rhodes in the booth in between his duties, he was able to get hours of practice, managing his time and pushing toward his goals. As he made his rounds, he left the classical or jazz music playing and loved to hear the sounds of the docks intermingling with the music. It is a sound he has captured in this piece. Piano, percussion elements, a feeling of walking a beat with purpose all come to life in this glimpse into the window of Calandra’s past.

“Chorale” has inflections of baroque and sacred music. Vocals wrap themselves around you in a rapture of angelic proportions. This is the picture you see in the fine art galleries of angels reaching into cloudless climbs. The first time I heard this piece I had to close my eyes and just experience the grand visualizations it brought out. Voices of loved ones greeting you after your earthly toiling is done combined with light multi-instrumentation to craft a masterpiece fitting to be the last song on this monumental album.

Peter Calandra is a composer, teacher, keyboardist and producer. His music was in large part inspired by jazz greats from the 1960’s like Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Inner Circle was started in 2013 in the Catskills studio and completed in 2014 in the NYC studio with live players, mixes and sound engineering. The album ranges from classic, jazz, Cuban and more. Calandra improvises, he composes and he finds the best medium for his musical voice whether that is a fellow artist or his own tremendous talent at the keyboard. For any fans out there, this album is worth the wait. (And on a personal note, the best birthday present a girl could have. So, I am going back to listen and find myself a cupcake.) Peter Calandra is an artist seen and unseen. You have probably heard his work in film, on television or if you take in a Broadway show. Just make sure you check out this album. It is worth every star in the sky and more…

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Inner Circle, Nightwatch, Chorale

Dana Wright

April 28, 2014

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews


01. Clyde and the Pearl
02. Dine's Waltz          
03.The Wayfarer          
04. Better Angels         
05. Inner Circle
06. Faith
07. So Much to Say     
08. A Quiet Spark        
09. Nightwatch
10. The Dreamer
11. Whispers in the Dark          
12. Reflections
13. Chorale


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