Photo by Carole May
Photo by Roseanne Olson
"Return to the Heart"
Some musicians have the ability to transform your very being with the gifts of their artistry. Master pianist and composer, David Lanz, is that kind of force. A wizard at painting a lush tapestry of cascading melodies that simmer into graceful refrains, and meld rhythmically fueled dancing harmonies that climax into wistful variations, Lanz has made a career of permeating the hearts, minds and souls of audiences around the globe for over three decades. Ahead of his time, the visionary Grammy-nominated and chart-topping pianist has remained a pioneer in the genre of New Age music. The witty pianist has coined his own phrase for his music, ‘Heavy Mellow,’ a cute play on the term Heavy Metal. “I always like to point out in my performances that the term New Age is not really a musical term so for fun I coined the term ‘Heavy Mellow.’ If you happen to like this style of music then I guess you would have to be referred to as a ‘Heavy Mellow-head!’” An all-around journeyman with roots in rock, jazz and classical, Lanz’s music is a delicate balance between technical prowess and passionate grace that serves a higher purpose. “My spiritual path is all about creating music, communicating with sound, and allowing beauty to be expressed in my work,” declared the pianist. October 8, 2013, Shanachie Entertainment will release David Lanz’s 41st recording, Movements Of The Heart, a sublime collection of original compositions that transport you on a glorious and emotive journey. “I draw from my source, the same source we all have access to...God if you will...and this source has an inexhaustible supply of inspiration just waiting for each of us to tap into it. This and my life experience is where I go for my inspiration.” Shanachie Entertainment’s VP of Jazz A&R Danny Weiss states, “Though tranquil and restful on the surface, the spirituality that lies within is the reason that David Lanz’s music resonates worldwide. He’s the real thing.”
Movements Of the Heart is David Lanz’s first recording of all new original piano works since 2008’s Painting the Sun. Each note that emanates from Lanz’s majestic and commanding touch on Movements Of The Heart, marries thirteen sublime compositions that unfold like an epic romantic drama. This new recording beautifully captures the spontaneity of a live performance and the pristine polish of a studio session. “Most of the music was written and then recorded during a major change in my personal life and reflects the relationship and the new love I have found,” confides Lanz. “The title refers to the romantic notions of the heart as well as to the movements found in music.” David Lanz is a master at sculpting unforgettable melodies that etch themselves into one’s memory. His mission is simple, “I really try and focus on the melody as I develop each piece. The melody is the heart of the song and my goal is to connect with the listener heart to heart-so to speak.”
Highlights on Movements Of The Heart include the dreamy “Love’s Return,” which Lanz hails as the most romantic love song he has ever written. He was even inspired to pen lyrics for the song which he hopes to share in the future. His compositions “Midnight Adagio” and “La Luna dell Amante” (The Lover’s Moon) were both composed during a full moon either at or near midnight. He explains, “These pieces represent the passion and the spiritual feelings wrapped up in the reflections of love and longing felt when you are apart from your true love.”
Movements Of The Heart also showcases “In Moonlight,” which pays homage to Ludwig Van Beethoven and references his seminal work “Moonlight Sonata.” “I never studied classically, but have grown to appreciate the master’s work,” says Lanz. He continues with a smile, “When I wrote ‘In Moonlight,’ I imagine it were played by Ludwig himself as if he was very relaxed and meditating.”
David Lanz is a consummate artist, and the intention of his art and every aspect of how it is delivered to the listener is well thought out. In fact, the piano tuning heard on Movements Of The Heart has been slightly altered from the standard A-440 tuning. A-440 refers to the cycles per second of the note ‘A’ below middle ‘C’ on the piano and is the standard by which all western instruments are tuned. Lanz explains, “In a twist of psycho-acoustics, sacred geometry, and a quest for an enhanced sonic experience, the piano heard on the CD is tuned and recorded in A-444, just a little bit higher than the traditional A-440. A subtle difference, but none the less a positive result!” Lanz was encouraged to explore this idea by his brother and co-producer, Gary Lanz, and their friend, mathematician, New York Times best selling author, and an ex-monk, Gary Hardin. They looked at the numbers and came to the conclusion that A- 444 would have very positive effects on the listener. Lanz adds, "444 is sometimes referred to as an angelic number. I have to admit it does sound much better than in the original A-440 tuning."
Hailing from Seattle, WA, and recently relocated to the east coast, David Lanz has enjoyed a career longevity that is rare in the music business. For over thirty years, the visionary recordings and live performances of David Lanz have served to heal, to inspire, to provide spiritual nourishment to diverse audiences around the globe. “My music has been used for years by traditional and alternative healers,” states Lanz. “I would never claim that it had healing effects, however, I do believe that music can set the stage and create the atmosphere and the inner feeling and attitude needed for the listener to tap into their own healing abilities, which I believe we all possess.” Early on inspired by the roots of Rock and Roll, Lanz’s vast cauldron of musician influences include some of jazz’s most revered pianists like Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, as well as classical icons Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy.
Many have tried to define David Lanz style, but that would be too simple. David Lanz plays David Lanz music. As both composer and interpreter, his approach to music is often larger than life, breathtaking in its breadth, yet accessible and down-to-earth as well. Through his music, Lanz connects in an intimate manner with his audience by tapping into emotions, thoughts and dreams like an old friend. Early in Lanz’s career, he took gigs playing rock, funk and disco. Then he had an epiphany: “I had been doing yoga and meditating and getting into Eastern philosophy,” says Lanz, “and slowly I started thinking about how music could help. With music, you could get people to dance or you could get people to meditate or to march off to war. I was aware of a few other musicians who were doing light, ambient music and I was always into what the classical East Indian musicians were doing, creating trance states. By the early ‘80s I was really into the idea that this kind of music would be an interesting path to take.” In 1983, Lanz made his recording debut, Heartsounds, on Narada. It was received favorably and Lanz was off, pursuing his new direction and exploring the various ways he might touch an emerging listenership. During the next five years he released six new albums and landed a major commercial breakthough with 1988’s Cristofori’s Dream. The album consisted of six originals, including the opening title track, which has become a classic, and a cover of Procol Harum’s 1967 rock hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Cristofori’s Dream topped Billboard Magazine’s first Adult Alternative/New Age chart and remained for an impressive 27 weeks. 1990 brought about the release of Skyline Firedance, which joined Lanz with an 80-piece orchestra. He continued to record for Narada, issuing several more titles including 1998’s Songs From an English Garden, his first to tap into the British Invasion repertoire of the ’60s. In 2000, he changed recording homes to Decca Records where he scored a Grammy nomination for East Of the Moon. Lanz continued to record and tour relentlessly, releasing eleven titles between 2001 and 2007. In 2008, he made his Shanachie debut, Painting In the Sun, and in 2012 he paid homage to The Beatles with Here Comes The Sun and Liverpool Re-Imagining The Beatles.
Beginning in 2012, David Lanz celebrated the 25th anniversary of his landmark release Cristofori's Dream Re-Envisioned, marking a return to the music that launched him as an international phenomenon a quarter-century ago. Cristofori’s Dream was a million-selling musical thank you note to Bartolomeo Cristofori, the man who invented the piano in the 18th century. The title track remains hugely popular today—countless piano students have purchased the sheet music to learn how to play the piece. In addition, Lanz’s interpretation of Procol Harum’s classic, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” on the original album is considered one of the most popular of the countless covers of the song.
Truly a renaissance man, David Lanz is always heading into the unknown in order to expand his artistry and share what he’s found with the world. His musical offering is a welcomed retreat back into music with heart, soul, courage, adventure, humanity and purpose. With the release of Movements Of The Heart, the journey continues and David Lanz concludes, “I always want my listeners to really enjoy the music, but if it connects to their deeper levels of emotion and allows them to really feel the stirrings in their own hearts...all the better!”
Click on an album to explore / purchase.
Photo by Joe del Tufo
"Dreams of the Forgotten Child"
Note: David has many more videos on his YouTube Channel. We have selected a few of our favorites for inclusion here.
Photo by Roseanne Olson
"Painting the Sun"
David Lanz has been a featured artist on Real Piano Music.com since November 24, 2016.
Real Piano Music.com
"Carol of the Bells"
Photo by Roseanne Olson
The Artist Gallery.com
"Being David Lanz"
Photo by Kyle Zimmerman
Biography reprinted with permission