CD Review: Sunday Morning Ivories (Kim Collingsworth)
Rating: 4 stars (of 5)
* * *
I have known about this two-CD series for a couple of years. But though I thought the concept had potential, I wasn’t in any rush to find copies. The reason is quite simple, and has nothing to do with Kim Collingsworth’s unquestioned genius at the piano keys: Background music doesn’t keep my attention easily.
Now that I’ve gotten and taken the time to listen through the two CDs, I regret that it took me so long to get copies. (Sure, you hear that line a lot. But if we get something we’ve been expecting to be forgettable and our expectations are met, we’re not likely to post about it, are we?)
Both CDs offer roughly 45 minutes of “continuous piano music.” Think of it as a 23 or 24-song piano medley. Despite the wide range of songs included—hymns, praise songs, and Southern Gospel classics—I didn’t catch a single awkward transition. The songs are broken into separate tracks, but there are at most brief pauses between individual tracks.
Orchestration is fairly simple on both projects. On Volume 1, Milton Smith—who is probably better than anyone else in our genre at making a keyboard sound like a real orchestra—did the orchestrations, and the project was produced by Phil Collingsworth.
On first listen, it’s clear that Vol. 2 retains the same simplicity. But repeated listens reveal more depth. Wayne Haun was brought in as a co-producer, and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra provided real orchestration.
Also, volume 2 has a subtle but nonetheless distinct framework. It starts with several meditative calls to worship, building into a set of majestic songs with a theme of God’s worthiness. (In particular, “Holy, Holy, Holy” stands out as a strong track.) A set of songs on the love of God brings in a more subdued mid-point to the project. Then, a more uptempo number, “Down by the Riverside,” leads into the final string of songs, which moves from uptempo to a majestic finish.