Composer Leah Waybright: Dreamed

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LEAH WAYBRIGHT: DREAMED
This episode of Big Blend Radio’s “Toast to The Parks & The Arts” Show with the National Parks Arts Foundation features Leah Waybright, a life-long Composer, Pianist, Recording Artist, Teacher, Floral Artist, Wildflower Preservationist, and Dreamer. Her newest CD, “Dreamed” is out now and features members of Happy The Man, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Steely Dan. In this conversation Leah talks about her music, childhood in Gettysburg, and work in floral design and wildflowers, especially at The Wildflower Island at Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, New York.


The common thread that connects Leah’s many professions is her role as a Storyteller. Hundreds of lectures and the wide variety of special floral programs she has presented for Garden Clubs and Civic Groups are the most obvious examples of her Storytelling.

However, her ability to tell a compelling story is not limited to words. Despite the instrumental nature of her music, her unique approach to composition and instrumentation means that each vignette reveals an ever-evolving story rich with meaning. As a steward of the Earth, Leah’s creativity and mindset benefitted from the pauses in older projects, and the development of new projects, but throughout she consistently creates new music through improvisation and then hones it with a nurturing process like the way she cultivates her beloved plants and wildflowers.

Her newest CD “Dreamed” is the culmination of years of compositional crafting. In some ways it picks up the floral storytelling narrative where “Beauty Gone Wild” left off and is a compositional masterpiece. Leah’s musical DNA is immediately noticeable in the melodies and the rhythms, but are even more elegant, captivating, and mysterious. What consistently leaps out of the speakers is the luscious sound of the grand piano, as there is more of a focus on her piano with “Dreamed.” Leah commands this fine instrument and presents each composition with confidence and verve.

Somehow without using a single word, she pulls the listener into her private world where a story for each dreamy piece unfolds like a new plant in spring.

Leah has always been an active dreamer, both in a literal sense as well as in a more figurative sense. Her dreams have a huge influence on her, and she sees power and wisdom in exploring dreams. After experiencing a vivid dream she often incorporates elements of that dream into a piece of music.

Says Leah, “My DREAMED collection is gathered from a wide arc of experience and time travelled. This ‘new’ music is captured from the first song I ever crafted, to pieces invoked by powerful moments and turning points in my life. There are vintage songs from the past as well as imaginings through to my most recent compositions. Each piece emerges for me as special and meaningful.”

The innovative orchestrations on “Dreamed” reveal numerous, subtle aspects of the melodies. The skillful contributions of the other players support the harmonic and rhythmic content when needed, but at other times they shine via tasty solos. In particular, the guitar work of “Happy the Man” alum Stan Whitaker is stunningly effective, especially on the track “Dreamprints.” As with “Beauty Gone Wild,” Gary Blu, who has worked with Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen and Steely Dan was the only choice for saxes, flutes, piccolo and clarinet. His flute and piccolo work on “Candlewink” is breathtaking.

Mark Wood, master violinist and Trans-Siberian Orchestra co-founder uses violins of his own design to add bold and exciting swaths of sound. A fierce player, his Paganini-like virtuosity never overwhelms Ms. Waybright’s brilliant compositions. His playing on the somewhat classical leaning “Sunwise” emphasizes complex interplay between violin, piano, and flute. Leah’s complex, shifting piano work in the piece is slightly evocative of both Erik Satie and Claude Bolling. Similarly, “Happy the Man” bassist Rick Kennell manages to both underpin and accent Leah’s every twist and turn. Rick deftly provides movement and support that reveals the glorious details of Leah’s sonic landscape. Rick also handled the production chores.

This is one of those rare albums that rewards the attentive listener with insights and delights. Play these tracks on your stereo or on your best headphones and let Leah’s dreams unfold around you. When you do, this master Storyteller will transport you to a wild world where anything can happen.

More: http://www.leahwaybright.com/

 

National Parks Arts Foundation

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