The sun will shine again when the rain subsides and the clouds uncover the sun to shine in its magnificent sky. The release of Mr. Blue Eyes is a bittersweet one for guitar virtuoso Sarel River. This is the third studio release for River which was recorded in April of 2005. River’s baby boy, Ethan, also known as Mr. Blue Eyes passed away from cancer in June of 2004, at the age of eight months. After the initial shock and grief abated, River decided to pick up his guitar once again, and what he has created is not only a timeless tour de force but also, a truly devoted and inspirational homage to his dearly departed son. Each title and composition has a reference to baby Ethan’s life.
River first became interested in music in his childhood home in Haifa, Israel where he was exposed to both classical music and opera. In 1989, River left Israel to study at one of the world’s most prestigious music schools - Boston’s Berklee College of Music. River has become known within the jazz scene for his commitment to performing his original compositions.
Mr. Blue Eyes opens with the melancholy yet tender track, "Mount Judah On My Mind." "Stormy Tuesday" is nothing short of brilliant! Everything from the stunning solos to the breaks. This song reflects emotional highs and lows. This track in particular will most assuredly be on repeat in every household fortunate to have a copy. The album continues with "Main Street Fugue" and the very audibly emotional "Mr. Blue Eyes." "Waltz For E.J." is another poignant composition. The talent of these musicians is almost tangible - and certainly easy to hear. The album closes with "The Power Of Your Smile," "Short Visit," and "I-95." David Berkman on piano is, to some extent, reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi. Berkman is exceptional in his own right.
This is an exceptional album due not only to the underlying inspiration, but also, to the amazing artistry established by these wonderful musicians. Mr. Blue Eyes will live on forever.