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The Piano Tribute To Pink Floyd

Vitamin Records

The Muzak of Pink Floyd

There's been all kinds of tribute albums to legendary rock group Pink Floyd, from electronic to symphonic and bluegrass to reggae. And now there's a piano one.

Producer David Ari Leon has produced The Piano Tribute To Pink Floyd, which interprets most of the band's biggest hits with a lone piano. Classics like "Comfortably Numb", "Money", and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" are all here. Also included is the original composition, "Sail On The Steel Breeze" (a lyrical reference to "Shine On"), which subtly mixes shades of "Comfortably Numb" and "Wish You Were Here".

Leon has selected Floyd tunes that translate well to piano, even though all the band's songs are taken from their biggest albums in the 70s (Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall). These are the songs that casual listeners will be most familiar with and enjoy, but it would have been nice for Leon to venture into the latter-day Floyd with renditions of "High Hopes" or "A Great Day For Freedom" from 1994's The Division Bell.

Respectfully though, Leon may have wanted to avoid rerecording songs that were already piano-centric and gave him little room for deviation, especially other cuts like "The Great Gig In The Sky" (from Dark Side) or "Nobody Home" (from The Wall). However, playing a piano version of the solemn guitar line from "Is There Anybody Out There?" would have been a welcome highlight.

There are no surprises on this tribute - just pleasant piano playing. Since most of Floyd's songs run over typical radio length, Leon appeals to the casual listener by skillfully arranging most of the tracks as streamlined abridgements ("Shine On", for example, loses about 9 minutes). Also, Leon generally captures the original tone of the songs, although the piano's timbre naturally provides more levity in traditionally darker moments.

Piano Tribute is a quiet, easy listen that won't offend anyone, but something that really only diehard Floyd fans will bother buying or appreciating. It's debatable whether the album actually takes listeners on a "celestial journey" (as the back cover promises), but one sure truth is stated: "When all of the studio trickery and texture is removed, the emotional resonance of these now classic songs endures."

Indeed, the song remains the same.

-Ken Devine

Standout Tracks: "Goodbye Blue Sky"," Hey You"

Track Listing:
1. Comfortably Numb / David Ari Leon 3:21
2. Wish You Were Here / David Ari Leon 3:43
3. Shine on You Crazy Diamond / David Ari Leon 4:20
4. Money / David Ari Leon 3:54
5. Goodbye Blue Sky / David Ari Leon 3:10
6. Pigs on a Wing / David Ari Leon 2:36
7. Have a Cigar / David Ari Leon 4:00
8. Hey You / David Ari Leon 3:16
9. Us & Them / David Ari Leon 4:02
10. Mother / David Ari Leon 3:26
11. Brain Damage/Eclipse / David Ari Leon 5:02
12. Sail on the Steel Breeze / David Ari Leon 3:01

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