“Butterfly Rapture is SF Bay Area jazz pianist/composer Brian Kelly’s first album since his 2008 Afterplay and his first solo piano album ever – something I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. When I lived in the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to see Kelly play live several times and he became one of my favorite live performers. I’ve also worked with him by proofing some of his sheet music, so I’ve gotten to know his music quite intimately and love it. Overall, the music on Butterfly Rapture has an intoxicating energy but also has many quieter, more reflective moments. Kelly started playing the piano at eight years old, so his composing reflects a lifetime in music and feels as natural as speaking. The twelve pieces on Butterfly Rapture are a fascinating combination of classical, jazz and new age influences intertwined to give Brian Kelly a unique and original voice.
Butterfly Rapture begins with “Piano Escapade,” a bright and lively piece that (for me) expresses the joy and freedom of getting “lost” in the music. It also clearly indicates that this is someone who really knows his way around a piano! “Room For Sky” has a beautiful flowing quality and combines elements of classical, jazz, and new age piano – a favorite. I also really like “Lilac Horizon,” a lyrical beauty with just the right touch of mystery to make it compelling. “Chasing a Breeze” has a carefree energy that goes in different directions like its namesake breeze would do. Lovely images of an abundance of wildflowers and new grasses gently caressed by a soft wind are evoked by “Hills in Bloom” – warm and soothing. “Niko’s Delight” is a multi-movement piece with a more classical structure that begins with a sweet and simple melody accompanied mostly by blocked chords. The second theme is somewhat more agitated yet beautifully flowing – I really like this one, too! As its title implies, “Playing My Heart” is poignant and sincere, a deeply personal expression – and a very beautiful one. “Winter Aura” goes darker to capture the feeling of winter’s chill. Much of the first half of this piece is played in the bass of the piano, becoming livelier and more percussive and then returning to the original theme – cool! Kelly saved the elegant title track for the end of the album. The various runs throughout the piece are crystal clear and intricate while the smoother and more lyrical passages flow effortlessly. It’s a great ending to a great album!