February 28, 2019
By Jonathan Widran
The first thought that strikes me as I continue listening to pianist/keyboardist-composer Michael Joseph’s extraordinarily sweeping, emotional and melodic debut album Into the Blue is that it’s timeless. It’s like a symphony for our time, texturing gorgeous heart-centered piano melodies with lush, soaring strings that underscore and emphasize the main themes, but often are used as launching off points into mystical realms all their own.
The reason it’s important to emphasize that the imaginative artist’s 13-track work is timeless is that while it’s perfectly capable of tugging viscerally on the soul in 2019, it also harkens back to an era in new age/contemporary instrumental music that is dear to myself and genre fans who were listening to the popular sounds of the genre in the early 90s. In those days, pianists and orchestral masters like Yanni, John Tesh and David Lanz ruled both charts and hearts with the same kind of triumphant, alternately sweetly delicate and rambunctiously buoyant blend of ivory and string section magic.