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Mainly Piano Review: Heart Awakening (EP)

Heart Awakening EP


2021 / Acoustic Shine

24 minutes

Heart Awakening EP is a five-song fifth album from composer/ guitarist Shambhu. In his words: "This album is dedicated to awakening hearts and spirits as the pandemic subsides. There are many (myself included) who are needing some inspiration right about now. The album was recorded in my home studio. My collaborators - musicians, and recording and mix engineers - worked remotely." Subtitled "Soothing guitar for a peaceful world," the album beautifully fuses new age and jazz styles with music that is soothing and healing yet complex enough to savor many times while discovering new things in the music with each listen. Two of the tracks were released as singles shortly before the release of the EP. I have reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed all of Shambhu's albums, but there is something extra-special about this one.

On Heart Awakening EP, Shambhu plays acoustic and electric guitars, e-bass, e-sitar, e-marimba and e-horn. Guest artists include Premik Russell Tubbs (sax and flute), Celso Alberti (drums and percussion), Frank Martin (piano), Geoffrey Menin (piano), Matteo Palmer (electric guitar) and Todd Boston (percussion).

Heart Awakening EP begins with the title track, an acoustic guitar solo (with very light accompanying keyboard). Open, slow and very relaxed, this beautiful piece feels much like floating on a soft, dreamy cloud - blissful and effortless. "Infinite Eyes" is soothing yet has plenty of substance to sink your musical teeth into. Sri Chinmoy reimagined the melody of a devotional Nazrul Songit by Anuradha Padwal and Shambhu adapted some of Sri Chinmoy’s melody into "Infinite Eyes." Instrumentation includes acoustic and electric guitars, e-sitar, bass, piano and percussion. "Preparing For Flight" is the most upbeat and "jazzy" of the five tracks - "a post-Pandemic song for the road ahead." "Laid-back Brazilian, jazz and new age groove" sounds like an impossible combination, but it works seamlessly with a heavy dose of heart. Soulful flute, guitars, horns, marimba and percussion make this a stand-out track. "Little B's Poem" is a cover version of a piece Bobby Hutcherson wrote for his then three-year-old son. Primarily a duet for electric guitar and piano (Frank Martin), the easy-going tempo and simple but heartfelt melody are transporting to a place of peace and harmony. "Song For You" is a duet for guitar and sax - a combination you don't hear every day! Shambhu and Premik Russell Tubbs celebrate all listeners as well as their long friendship (they met when they were 20) with a piece that overflows with warmth and light. Here's to many more soulful collaborations!

Heart Awakening EP is just what the world needs right now! It is available 5/31/21 from, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Both thumbs up!

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