||“This loving tribute to a dear friend is masterful artistry.” – Dyan Garris
It is said that life is short, particularly when compared to the eternal nature of the soul. We are here on Earth for a brief time. As if to underscore this, the 15 tracks on “The Long Road” by Monica Logani, are mostly brief as well, ranging from “Daybreak” at 1:15 to “Devotion” at 3:48.
Monica is a solo piano artist with classical and world music influences that reflect her multicultural identity. She was born in West Africa to North Indian parents but grew up in the Midwest, USA. These days she spends her time in New York as well as Spain. Her first album, “Secret Garden,” made it to the top 20 in the Zone Music Reporter charts.
“The Long Road” is 35 minutes of emotionally stirring solo piano with some minimal string instrumentation (Gregg Zubowicz, guitar, Maria Grigoryeva, violin, Ekaterina Gaydareva, viola, and Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva, cello).
The album is about the journey of life, and was inspired by the short, yet full life of her dear friend, Juliette Calayag Pralle. What a loving tribute!
The album opens with the soft and peaceful, “Birds.” This is a perfect beginning and precedes - as it is also so in life - the beautiful, “Daybreak.” Good use of the deep lower register here in “Daybreak” gives us that exact feeling between night and the very first glimpse and promise of the day. If you’ve been up at that time of day/night you know precisely what I mean.
The almost 2 minute “Juliette,” is reverent and flowing. The various strings add a wonderful dimensional feel to the rich tapestry of what surely must have been Juliette’s full, albeit short, life. It’s as if we now know her too. Very touching.
“Poette” is lovely, structured, and played with perfect pacing. I might venture to say that Juliette was a poetess. This is very relaxing. “Temporality” speaks to the impermanence of our time here. Somber, yet not necessarily sad, this is also perfectly paced, and for some reason reminded me of the poetry of Emily Dickenson. Not surprising, however, since many of Ms. Dickenson’s poems were also brief and dealt with the topics of death and immortality. Interesting.
The splendid guitar of Gregg Zubowicz opens the song, “Mantra,” which then glides very eloquently into piano. This song is effortless, just as a mantra should be. And here again, is that perfect cadence, which allows for breath to flow. This is aptly one of the longer tracks at almost 3-1/2 minutes. Very nice.
The title track paints us a quite effective piano soundscape of a flowing road, yet also bittersweet, as life is most certainly not without its adversities along the way. This is a favorite on the album.
“Storyteller” is another favorite. Like any good story this flows and enchants us along the way. Great use of both upper and lower registers.
My ultimate favorite on the album is, “Space.” This is stunningly beautiful, with the piano and string instrumentation giving us a delicious depth and expansive breadth of atmosphere. Wonderful! At 1:34, I wish it was just a little longer. However, such is the nature of life, and following is the lush and luxuriant, “Dreamer,” which has a similar feel to it.
I believe that Valencia is a city in Spain, and the song, “Valencia,” has a very pleasant Spanish motif, with guitar and piano dancing a sumptuous dance together. This is quite engaging.
“Devotion” has a wonderful air of foreign mystery and deep intrigue. This would fit nicely into a spy movie. Steady under-beat and string instrumentation add to the enchantment. Love it.
With a bittersweet flavor you can feel seeping into your soul from the very first notes, “Savior,” evokes deep emotions. We can feel this one tugging at our heartstrings.
The wistful “Summer’s End” starts winding down the album. So short, just like a summer season in most parts of the country (USA), this is 1:24. The album closes out with the poignant, and also brief, “The Last Embrace.” The piano here is lovely, and again, we experience Monica’s deliberate and perfect pacing. The whole album “breathes” throughout. Eternally. And such, it is said, is the nature of death and the journey of the soul.
One of the things notable about this album is that each song leaves you wanting more. This is masterful artistry. Because when someone we care about is gone, all we can think of is wishing they were still here and wishing we had more time with them. Yes, masterful, indeed.
Get “The Long Road” by Monica Logani here: https://monicalogani.com/ or wherever music is sold/streamed/downloaded.