David Lanz is a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist, who’s been a frequent guest on our show. Recently his career has taken a different path, collaborating with vocalist Kristin Amarie. Their latest project is called Silhouettes of Love, and it sees the pair adding elements of classical, soul and smooth jazz for a uniquely romantic album.
David Lanz has been putting out music for over 30 years, so you’d think there wouldn’t be any “firsts” left for the award-winning pianist. Yet, his new record, Forever Christmas, is his first-ever album to feature a songwriting partner from start to finish, and his first record prominently featuring a vocalist. The songwriting partner & vocalist is also the love of his life, Norwegian born Kristin Amarie. Lanz talks about constructing the album during last year’s brutal winter, the fabulous artwork that adorns the CD, and plans he has for the new year.
Platinum-selling pianist David Lanz returns to Icon Fetch with his first new album of original material in five years called Movements of the Heart (amazon link). Inspired by a new love in his life, the record features some of the most passionate music Lanz has ever laid to tape. We discuss how immersing himself in music of the past, specifically the Beatles, had an impact on his current compositions, and how he tuned his piano differently, and the positive effect that had on his songs.
With the recent passing of Reg Presley of the Troggs, Icon Fetch has put together an hour-long tribute to the band and their influential lead singer. We’ll hear the story of “Wild Thing” from the man who wrote the legendary song, Chip Taylor. From Larry Page, the band’s manager & producer, who wouldn’t give up on the song, even though everyone hated it, Mike Mills of R.E.M., who played with the band on a collaboration called Athens Andover, and Graeme Clark of Wet Wet Wet, who took the Troggs’ “Love is All Around” back to the top of the charts in the Nineties. Also contributing are Richard Barone, Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones, Tommy Keene, producer Mitch Easter, Debora Iyall of Romeo Void, pianist David Lanz, Jon Weiss of the Vipers, Peter Holsapple of the dB’s, and filmmaker Grant Wakefield, who talked with Presley about his obsession with crop circles.
David Lanz spent the last few years immersed in the music of the Beatles – first, with 2010’s Liverpool: Re-Imagining the Beatles, and then it’s followup, Here Comes the Sun from earlier this year. Now, he’s chosen to revisit his most-famous work, 1988’s Cristofori’s Dream. The original album put Lanz on the map, and helped breathe life into the budding New Age genre.
For this anniversary project, Cristofori’s Dream…Re-envisioned, Lanz chose to re-record the entire album with just him on solo piano. The sparse arrangements let these timeless melodies really shine. We talk with him about the circumstances surrounding the surprise success of his breakthrough album, and the difficulties in trying to recreate the songs with no other accompaniment.
Pianist David Lanz continues his homage to the Beatles with his new CD, Here Comes the Sun. Like his first tribute, Liverpool: Re-imagining the Beatles, this album takes classics by the Fab Four and reworks them with stunning results. Lanz returns to Icon Fetch to talk about choosing this new batch of songs, how “I Am the Walrus” took several months to arrange, and why he decided to include songs by George Harrison this time around. He also touches on an upcoming 25th anniversary edition of his landmark Cristofori’s Dream album.
David Lanz – Liverpool: Re-imagining the Beatles (Moon Boy Music)
It’s always been somewhat unfair labeling the music of David Lanz as new age. His Cristofori’s Dream from 1988 was the first big success of the fledgling Narada label, and did help jump-start the New Age movement. Yet, unlike his contemporaries, who seemed content on creating relaxing, dreamy mood music; Lanz was, and still is, a songwriter, and it’s his sense of melody that has set his work above the genre.
He is also gifted as an arranger of other people’s works; it’s his re-tooling of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” that first got him noticed. Liverpool – Re-imagining the Beatles finds the pianist tackling some hallowed territory, along with friends Gary Stroutsos on flute and Walter Gray on cello. Now, instrumental Beatles music is dangerous territory: if you stick too close to note-for-note readings, it could border on Musak. Conversely, if you take too much liberty here, it could be blasphemy. Not to worry – Lanz’s capable hands pull it off. The key here is that these songs aren’t meant as direct copies; some even take several minutes for you to recognize which song it is. It also helps that he’s chosen to skip over the really familiar hits, focusing on mostly album cuts.
Especially good are the medleys where Lanz effortlessly segues from one song to another, and back again, as in “Because / I’m Only Sleeping.” Sometimes, he focuses on just a fragment of a song, as the bridge of “Eight Days a Week” in the medley “Rain / Eight Days a Week.” He can take a relatively simple composition and really bring out new elements, as in “Things We Said Today,” which stresses the minor chords, adding a darker overtone. Another highlight is the little-known “Yes It Is,” originally relegated to the b-side of “Ticket to Ride”; Lanz uncovers a sadness and longing not known in the Beatles’ version.
The disc opens with the lone original, “Liverpool,” and it’s a fun listen; Lanz has hidden ten snippets of Beatles’ songs within the piece – it might take some detective work to hunt them all out. Above all, what sets this record apart from all the other Beatles’ covers albums is that it’s first and foremost a David Lanz record; it’s his unique and melodic style that dominates – it just happens that he’s doing Lennon and McCartney tunes. –Tony Peters
Lennon Tribute Week concludes with Pianist David Lanz, who has just released “Liverpool – Re-imagining the Beatles.” Hardly a straight covers album, the nine songs on the set instead take certain elements of each Fab Four song and expound on it with piano, cello and flute. The result is a collection that is both fresh and familiar. Lanz talks with Icon Fetch about choosing songs from the vast Beatles’ library and coming up with unique arrangements for each track. He also talks about his recent visit to Liverpool, where he toured the childhood homes of both Lennon and McCartney.
Thursday night marked the 31th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. We pay tribute to one of the most influential musicians in the history of music through a special 2-hour edition of Icon Fetch. The show will feature live calls from listeners and recorded interviews with a wide array of musicians who were affected by Lennon’s talent. Among the guests are May Pang, who was Lennon’s girlfriend during the year and a half “Lost Weekend;” Delbert McClinton, who taught Lennon how to play the harmonica in the early days of the Beatles; and Tommy James, Gary Wright and Wally Bryson of the Raspberries, who all had a chance to meet Lennon during his lifetime.
Other artists include Grammy winners Shelby Lynne and David Lanz; rockers Dwight Twilley and Donnie Iris; melodic songwriters Marshall Crenshaw and Jason Falkner; and underground veterans Peter Case and Steve Wynn. Several authors who have written recent books about the singer, including Robert Rodriguez, Ken Sharp and Keith Elliot Greenberg, will also weigh in with their thoughts.
The John Lennon Tribute airs Wednesday night at 9pm EST at www.iconfetch.com. The show will be simulcast through www.blogtalkradio.com/iconfetch. For those unable to hear the program live, it will be available through either address as an online stream immediately following the live broadcast.