Grit & Grace- Review by Kathy Parsons

Grit & Grace is the third solo piano album from Janine De Lorenzo, an Australian pianist/ composer now living in Colorado. The album has a total of thirteen tracks, one of which is a solo piano arrangement of Brandi Carlile’s “Right On Time” – the other twelve are originals. The music in this collection conveys Janine’s impressions of the world in everyday life – “an expression of both the Grit and the Grace.” Quoting Janine: “Since the start of 2020, I have found myself feeling profoundly introspective. The changing tides of our global community have raised so much grief in my heart and have forced me to be still, to listen more closely so as to better understand who I am on this small planet in this giant universe. The heartache has also strengthened my passions and resolve to share more love and light with the world through my music.” Deep introspection is definitely a very big part of the music on Grit & Grace as is a warm and welcoming spirit. Sometimes gently contemplative and sometimes bigger and more passionate, this is music that calms the spirit and soothes the soul. The album was recorded at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ on Joe Bongiorno’s incredible Shigeru Kawai SK-7L grand piano, and the piano sings with a voice that is both clear and velvety.

Grit & Grace begins with “Breath of Life,” a gentle reminder to celebrate and appreciate the gift of life that we so often take for granted. Beautifully flowing and graceful, it’s a lovely start. “Stillness” feels much more reflective and expresses the idea that in stillness we “can listen and hear all that needs to be heard.” “Morning Light” conveys the hope and optimism of a new day – very peaceful and serene! “The Dream” is my favorite piece on the album. Darker and more intense, desire, intention and longing are interwoven throughout the music – I love this one! “Grace” returns to a more flowing style and describes how grace can emerge “from the direst of circumstances and the underlying grit of life.” I really like this one, too! “A Different Story” is a beautiful love song for a treasured life partner and a “thank you” for sharing life together. Deeply personal and sincere, it’s another favorite. Janine explains the inspiration for “Cloud Love”: “Sometimes I look up and see the clouds drifting slowly, moving and merging, reconnecting and reforming, just as love does.” Slow and effortless, this one is really blissful! “Grit” is more graceful and melodic than you might expect, but it serves as reminder to seek the light that appears to guide us through the toughest of times. The piece becomes more dramatic and powerful in the second half, quieting at the end. “Somewhere in Between” is “an exploration into the space somewhere in between knowing and not knowing, feeling and not feeling, being and not being.” Darkly mysterious on the left hand yet free and spontaneous on the right, it’s a fascinating piece! “Right On Time” is Janine’s heartfelt arrangement of the Brandi Carlile song and brings this excellent album to a close.

Kathy Parsons, November 10, 2021

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