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Castles in the Air by Claire Ritter

Castles in the Air, is one of two CDs recently released by pianist and composer Claire Ritter.

While the other, "River of Joy," is largely a solo affair, this CD is an ensemble effort with six other musicians lending a hand. As a result, "Castles in the Air," is more richly textured.

Throughout, Ritter plays with a gentle, refined touch. On several of the songs, harp and/or violin are featured. Not your typical jazz combo. That’s because the album crosses the boundaries into symphonic and neo-classical music.

Ritter gives a firm nod to Thelonious Monk on the CD, but the heart of the disc is her beautiful "Opus 17: New Southern Symphonic Suite for Modern Dance." Harp, violin, flute, bass, percussion and Steve Swallow’s electric bass are featured at various times on the four movements. It’s lovely and easy to listen to. The inspiration for the symphony came from an unlikely source - Ritter’s horse. Ritter has been riding for as long as she has been playing piano, and she sees a crossover in those two passions. It works.

North Carolina-based Ritter wrote 12 of the 14 songs on the CD. The other two are by Monk. The package is fluid and enjoyable.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Claire Ritter
  • CD Title: Castles in the Air
  • Genre: Cool Jazz
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Zoning Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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