Spirit of Hope
My New Album Is Here
There is something beautiful about artists whose insight into the human condition and world affairs allows them to create works that meet moments of crisis with boldness and the courage to believe in brighter days to come. Creatively and spiritually driven by his desire to impact the hearts of everyone who listens, Iranian born, Scottsdale, AZ based pianist/composer Kaveh Karandish has worked transcendent melodic and rhythmic wonders on the keys over the course of his first four albums – beginning with a set of piano/violin duets on his debut Memories and culminating in his popular global fusion driven 2017 recording Silent Whispers.
Focusing his artistry anew on a fresh and definitive new age sound, the multi-talented artist and performer is releasing his extraordinary new collection Spirit of Hope into a very different world than he could have imagined when he and his producers, Grammy nominee Elliot Lanam (who helmed Silent Whispers) and Farzin Farhadi (who played sax on that earlier release), began working on the project in 2019. Yet Kaveh, his sonically intuitive behind-the-boards cohorts and a tight ensemble of veteran musicians pull off an extraordinary feat – creating ten compelling, soul-soothing tracks that offer a sense of peace and optimism in the face of the fear and chaos of this difficult time. Given what our world is facing in 2020, the new collection has a fresh urgency unlike any other in his growing catalog.
While he is much admired and appreciated by the countless patients he has helped and served as a physician practicing internal medicine and doing cosmetic procedures, Kaveh’s #1 lifelong passion has always been music. The demands of his medical career have always made it a challenge to carve out time in his busy schedule to compose and record. Yet each time out, tapping into his ongoing desire to create and inspire anew, he experiences great joy in the process. He found his effortless flow once again composing eight new tracks and reworking two from Silent Whispers (the title track and “Sunset Sparrows”) that fit the developing theme of the new album.
While pleased with Lanam’s production of Silent Whispers, Kaveh enjoys the overall emotional arc of the album that came from also working with Farhadi on six of the tracks. The producer challenged the pianist to play his right and left hands separately and to meet his deadline to craft a song every few weeks. Finding the composing process effortless and a way to find relaxation amidst both personal and universally felt stresses, the pianist sent his piano files to the producers, who would then create arrangements and invite various musicians to their studios to flesh out the tracks. While Kaveh composed most of the songs in 2019, “Visions of Grace” and “Gratitude” were written as hopeful responses to various troubling world events, including the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and the coronavirus.
The Farhadi tracks begin with the lilting, soulful and gently hypnotic title track “Spirit of Hope,” which invokes a sense of soaring via the pairing of rhythmic piano with the acoustic guitar harmony of Mark Goldenberg and the exotic floating kaval (a chromatic end blown flute) of Eric Zang. Beginning with Kaveh’s lush new age piano flow and dreamy atmospheres, “Shades of Light” – which Kaveh considers his “signature song” on this album – evolves into a dynamic smooth-jazz flavored piece with an odd 7/8 rhythm and Farhadi’s sensual soprano sax. Tinged with a touch of easy listening blues, “Infinite Horizon” opens with the feeling of a dreamy, reflective film score before evolving into a grooving, jazzy jam with a deep groove and an exotic percussive flow thanks to bassist Edwin Livingston and drum great Rayford Griffin.
The meditative, classically influenced piano/sax ballad “Sacrifice of Soyembica” was inspired by Kaveh’s trip to Russia to attend the World Cup in 2018. It taps into a grand history – part truth, part myth – of Soyembica, a 16 th Century Tatar ruler who served as regent of Kazan. The myth of her suicide involves overtures from Ivan the Terrible. They take that duality to an energized, deeply rhythmic level on “Eastern Echoes,” a slice of spirited jazz with an exotic Middle Eastern flair. The final Farhadi production is the perfectly titled “Awakenings,” which blends a lighthearted piano melody with Zang’s sweeping kaval, Kaveh’s brother Maz Karandish’s oud and Yara Amirbahonar’s whimsical violin to create a sense of morning light and birds in happy, carefree flight.
The tracks on Spirit of Hope produced by Elliot Lanam include the warm, sweeping and romantic seduction “Vision of Grace,” whose arrangement, orchestration and sound effects were fashioned entirely by Lanam; and the swaying, soaring piano/kaval duet “Sunset Sparrow,” whose passionate orchestral beauty combines with the main instruments to approximate a feeling visual of sense of birds calling and in flight. A remixed version of the previously released “Silent Whispers” captures all the heartfelt beauty, mysticism and sensuality created by Kaveh’s elegant piano and Farhadi’s whimsical sax. Lanam also applied his magical touch to the closing track “Gratitude,” which Kaveh composed as a tribute to legendary electronic composer Kitaro. Emotionally centered the dual energies of piano and kaval (with touches of hypnotic bells), it
offers an ethereal expression of expression of thankfulness even amidst despair.
“While Spirit of Hope explores the unique nature of new age music more than I have ever done before, the diversity of the compositions and the unique sounds of each musician on the album reflect my vision of a better, brighter world where we emphasize our common bonds rather than our differences. Thanks to the immeasurable production talents of Farzin and Elliot, the quality of each player’s live performance takes my piano compositions beyond what I ever could have imagined. I love the multitude of colors they bring to the music via their different backgrounds – jazz, electronic, world music, etc. – which allow my songs to flourish in a spirit of excitement, harmony, and of course, hope.”
Reviews on Spirit of Hope
Kaveh Karandish’s “Spirit of Hope” delves into a blissful, hallowed realm full of endless possibilities. Without needing to say a single word a narrative begins to unfurl. The delicate piano playing ties the entire album together anchoring it in a sense of optimism. Arrangements effortlessly swirl around the majesty of Kaveh Karandish’s uncanny chops, with a style that recalls George Winston’s expressive output. Rhythms go for a gentleness for the journey has a careful cadence to it. Instrumentally rich the way the many elements are woven together makes the whole of the experience a vast tapestry of sound.
You can feel the emotional and spiritual uplift from the first lilting notes of “Spirit of Hope,” the title track to multi-faceted pianist/composer Kaveh Karandish’s elegant and easy grooving new album. It’s a dreamlike, gently hypnotic song that soars on the elegantly entwined passions of Karandish’s flowing piano, Mark Goldenberg’s lush acoustic guitar and Eric Zang’s ethereal floating kaval (a chromatic end blown flute).
Accept the subsequent invite to journey along Karandish’s inspiring, richly percussive, string-caressed path, and you’ll feel his loving touch via a slow reveal driven by an artful and exotic blend of intimate expressions and sweeping high energy adventures. At a time we most need it, that hope springs eternal as Karandish graciously takes us from the laid back bluesy glimpse of an “Infinite Horizon” to the classically influenced, vocally kissed “Sacrifice of Sovembica” (inspired by his trip to Russia to attend the World Cup in 2018) and the lighthearted, whimsical “Awakenings” (featuring brother Maz Karandish’s oud and Yara Amirbahonar’s violin).
In the world of composer Kaveh Karandish, the reach and effect of music know no earthly bounds. Born in Shiraz, the Persian city of poetry and music, Karandish immigrated to California when he was just 23 years old, spending the majority of his time studying music in many forms at various prestigious institutions. Now residing in Florida, Karandish has published his latest composition, Spiring of Hope, and it is a stunning, emotive collection of instrumental music.
Karandish’s love for orchestral compositions was made evident by the time he was a teenager and has since collaborated with many musicians from all over the world. He arranged an original composition “Eternity” for the Irvine Valley College wind symphony in 2001 and collaborated with Orchestra Surreal for a concert featuring his original music in 2003. His most recent work, Spirit of Hope, is a true showcase of his aims with his compositions – a blending of western and ethnic sounds, creating a modern twist on contemporary Persian music that transcends genre and instead embodies a style that is inherently unique.
The album Spirit of Hope kicks off with its title track. And straight away we plug right into the intention of this collection of works.
Beautiful, lyrical phrasing on the piano and the flute, rich orchestration, tasty guitar licks (or is that an oud?), clean capture and an attentive, gorgeous mix.
Strings hold down root notes for the melodies to dance around and percussion skips and taps and claps around at moments of dynamic intervention.
Can a melody be described as hopeful? I certainly hope so! I would certainly call it yearning and searching and optimistic-sounding, which may well equate as hope…
Shades of Light reminds me of something that Pat Metheny would produce, or perhaps one of Sting’s explorations of pop/jazz utilising Branford Marsalis.
Suzanne Doucet, Only New Age Music
Spirit of Hope is a beautiful, inspirational new age album by Kaveh Karandish, produced by well known saxophonist Farzin Farhadi. A synthesis of Eastern and Western musical elements, arranged in perfect harmony, expressing our human capacity to overcome obstacles and hardship with the light of hope and empathy in a time of crisis. From the title song Spirit of Hope to the last song Gratitude Kaveh‘s gentle and inspiring piano gives peace to the mind and fills the listeners heart with renewed Love and Strength. It is an album that embraces all cultural differences through music and is filled with the deep understanding that we are all connected in this world! ~Suzanne Doucet, Only New Age Music
Imagine being a busy doctor and a recording artist at the same time? I cannot fathom the enormity of a life like that. Kaveh Karandish is one of those people. He is one of few that double in both professions. His upcoming release is a musical encapsulation of the Spirit of Hope. His first love, music, comes shining through on this ten-track instrumental voyage.
The opener is the moving title track. It set the table for me so I added it to my NAMR Spotify Playlist. It captures your attention and imagination rather quickly. Right at the outset, I felt a calmness and satisfaction listening to Kaveh’s smooth and rhythmic command of the piano.
The next track “Shades of Light” offers some diversity to the listener with a change in direction. What you get is some very nice sax added to the piano playing and the quiet storm of smooth jazz to sweep you away. The combination of new age and jazz is a splendid mixture that would please any discerning listener.