Lisa Swerdlow is a pianist and composer from California. Her third release—one year after her debut album Equus Rising and in collaboration with Heart Dance Records—is entitled Voyager, and has been inspired by the launch of the NASA twin Voyager spacecrafts in 1977. Influenced in particular by the music of Keith Jarrett, Swerdlow aims at writing music that is both emotional, spiritual and strongly melodic.
The title track of Voyager is based on a balancing melodic motif, with an interesting halfway harmonic shift that lifts the mood of the piece. Swerdlow’s tendency towards lyricism is well demonstrated in I Saw You Dancing with the Stars, while Edge of Tranquility shows her affection for heroic contrasting sections. Autumn Speaks to Me chains up musical sections that gradually build up more and more romantically. The dreamy Mindful Moments is to me one of the most noticeable piece of the album, and is full of ornamental melodies and musical dances. There is a slight feeling of deja vu with some of the pieces—Sundays in Paris—while others escape from the New Age genre to Contemporary Classical music—Into the Center. Voyager seems like an optimistic piece of work, but features some more melancholic and sombre pieces such as Gone too Soon or Winter Solstice—a charming simplistic piece. Yuba River Journey closes the album on a impressionistic note that lifts once more the whole ambiance of the album, and makes the listen of the complete work worth it.
Voyager is a very humble album of relaxing pieces and gentle melodies, with some nice harmonic surprises sprinkled here and there that keep the attention of the musician listener. I feel like the production has restricted some of the dynamics in Swerdlow’s performance, stripping it of some of its organic qualities, however, each piece is very well crafted and performed and truly enjoyable to listen to, and a great addition to the genre of New Age music!