The Scott Cossu Duo

Saturday, February 29
7:30 PM, Tickets: $16.50, Student/low income: $12
Advance ticket sales available. Call Traditions at 360-705-2819

Scott Cossu, composer, pianist, and recording artist, will perform pieces from his new CD, Memories of Water and Light. Just released from Heart Dance Records, it has already had complimentary reviews and airplay. Scott’s cellist, Holly Reeves, who recorded with him on this new album, will be joining Scott. Holly is the principal cellist of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra. 

Scott is an internationally known, composer, pianist and recording artist. He was up front when New Age was just beginning over 30 years ago.  He was one of the first Windham Hill Artists to join with founder Will Ackerman and Alex Degrassi, in their new label out of Palo Alto, California.  Scott signed onto the label the same day as Michael Hedges and they both joined George Winston who was just new to the label himself. In those early days, Scott toured with his label mates as they forged the way for the many artists that would follow in that genre.

Scott would affectionately call his music Heavy Mental or Cosmic National Geographic, even though he was one of the grandfathers of the New Age scene; he was labeled a “jazz luminary of the future”, by Billboard Magazine.  Much of Scott’s work exhibits departures from the New Age field and includes a melodic blend of jazz, classical and ethnic influences.

Scott Cossu and Holly Reeves

“He has an ear for the right riff, and his group manages to sound sincere while stretching the limits of the style just slightly.”
–Keyboard Magazine

“A seminal force in and influential and enduring treasure of new age music…”
– Jonathan Widran

Review of Memories of Water and Light
There is a connection between nourishing water and life giving light. Without either we stagnate, we break, we fade, and perhaps we perish. 

Somewhere between nostalgic and introspective abides pianist Scott Cossu’s latest album, Memories of Water and Light. After a few listens, it reminded me of some of the early releases on the Windham Hill record label where Cossu made his entrance into the contemporary music world and particular soundscapes that create soul searching on an contemplative level. It has a nice balance between musical poetry and passion. The ten contemporary tunes are filled with Cossu’s warm, sincere piano motifs blended with guitar by Van Manakas and cello by Holly Reeves. Make no mistake, this is an album full of love songs. Family, friends, and an appreciation for life are all well represented here. 

The opening number must be a wonderful memory for Scott. It is called Wedding Lanterns and it represents a ritual during his daughter’s wedding. Delicate paper lanterns with well wishes float away on a ripple of water, different hands writing and different hearts hoping for the best for the newlywed’s future. Scott’s piano theme is sweet and flowing while Manakas’ guitar waves goodbye and Reeves cello weeps for happy. 

Cerulean Eyes is quite the memorable tune. It was penned for Scott’s wife, Debi and she does have those eyes. I have to admit it became a favorite with me on the first listen. This is devotional music on an unseen level, but you can hear every loving nuance. It is a musical embrace with no words needed. Tenderly, Reeves’ cello open the tune Here With You. The song is wholly expected on an album forged of this much love and it does not disappoint. The tune is light hearted and fueled by the electricity between two hearts when the current is just right. Cossu’s piano is bright and bold on the tune Luminoso. The tune stands by its name as it is “dazzling” the listener with flawless riffs that brighten the day. Manakas’ guitar bobs and weaves throughout the tune as Reeves’ cello flutters about. Tremendous balance among three talents. 

Lucid Watercolors has Reeves using her cello like a stand-up bass for a time, but then she gets into the stream. Manakas takes over the lead for a time and then adds polyphonic vibes. Scott’s piano comes out of the shadows and adds the vibrant colors of the day, sky blues, rosy reds, and sunny yellows. He then musically blends all the primary colors into a soundscape that amazes the senses. 

Appropriately, the final tune is called Last Snow. This is one of the songs that takes me back to the beginnings of the genre. The artistic delicacy lies in the murmur of falling snow, the cold crystal ices on the edges of everything, and the quietude of white that settles on the earth. Each note paints a different part of the overall scene of serenity. The tune has a touch of jazz in there and it is, if anything, blissful. 

I really liked all ten tunes on Memories of Water and Light. With the talents of Manakas and Reeves, Cossu has found just the right combination of sharing the lead with players of equal talent and the whole album reflects not only a positive synergy of musical elements, but also an exceeding well-balanced and dexterous collection of reflective compositions. Highly recommended. 

– R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews