The famous lyricist Sammy Cahn was once asked, “which comes first, the words or the music”. His reply: “the phone call”. And so it was in the spring of 2003 when I played for a new friend’s wedding. Turns out the bride, Peggy Cruz, manages the gift shop at the Portland International Rose Test Garden. After the wedding she started carrying my CD’s at her gift shop. I thought that was great. Peggy then suggested that I record a CD with a rose theme. I tucked this idea away in my mind and then things started to happen. The music for the ‘Rose Garden” CD began to germinate.
In the fall, my wife Marcia went to a charity auction and won a bid for Jim Swenson, a member of the Fort Vancouver Rose Society, to come and prune our roses. In February, he arrived at our home garden. As he was teaching us proper pruning techniques, he shared with us, to our amazement, that every year after a severe pruning, a rose bush will completely regenerate itself. We had been in the midst of change, with Marcia’s career taking an unexpected turn and my changing performance venues. We viewed our own events as life’s pruning; getting us ready for more ‘new growth.’ With an infusion of inspiration, I set out recording ‘Rose Garden’ just four weeks before I was scheduled to perform at the Portland airport’s ‘PDX in Bloom’ event. As a springtime event that features gardens and music, we knew this was the perfect setting to debut my new work. With lightening speed, mastering was completed by Nettlelingham Audio and then the project flew into the hands of Ed Vidinghoff our photographer and Andy Craw our ‘graphics guy’ who packaged the vision in stunning color. Airport travelers were the first to hear selections from ‘Rose Garden’, which gave them a peaceful respite in between flights. This collection of all original piano music captures the charm of a rose garden and its denizens, complete with a waterfall and summer rain. More than half of the pieces highlight the character of a specific rose and are named for the rose they represent. Thank you for listening!
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