This album has the quietest dynamics of and Michael Jones album. I don't know if it's deliberate or not, but the effect is to draw attention to the playing. On one level that is what this album is about - Jone's ability to control the keys - touch. The liner notes are quick to fill in various metaphysical details, but I am first and foremost a listener to the music for the music's sake. Touch shows off some of Michael Jones subtler skills and demonstrates yet again that he is one of the the best in his genre.
As is often the case, Jones manages to combine melody and arpeggiation so well that it is impossible to really separate the on from the other. This works so well in something like River that it is the combined effect which is the melody. If there is something changeless in Jones styling his details are infinitely varied. Sometimes you may wonder if you have heard the piece before, but most of the time you won't care, you will just happy to listen.
I've been addicted to Michael Jones work from the first album of his I ever heard. Along with Rumbel & Tingstad. These musicians introduced me to a whole new style of music. Often labeled New Age, it is really about music where listening is a service to the mind and heart. I think you will find that this CD, once again, fulfills its purpose.
Pianoscapes was technically the first album on Narada, one of the top new age contemporary instrumental labels in the U.S., of Jones's solo piano improvisations. Jones's playing has a carefree quality grounded in classical impressionistic form and technique. His pieces breathe and pulse as if they were a part of you, pause for introspection (the somber passage of "Daybreak"), then resolve with glistening clarity. The overall tone is gentle, tender at times, but without being surface or trite. The music is very easy to let go into the background, yet it will pull you to notice soul-stirring passes of exquisite beauty and introspection.Carol Wright, All Music Guide
New age pianists split performance duties down the center on this holiday album. Each chose to perform an extended variation/improvisation, plus a shorter song — only four tracks in all. Jones performs an eleven-and-a-half minute variation on "Good King Wenceslas" and the radiant "Carol of the Bells." The "Wenceslas" variations are not the typical jolly-good version you might hear from carolers. Jones opens up the vistas of passages giving a sense of warmth. Then he will flit the melody like the wind swirling snowflakes. At these moments, you might forget about the tune, but of course the warmth of the noble melody is repeated. "Carol of the Bells" peals out the theme immediately, and Jones bases the variations on rhythmic patterns rather than the melody; he reinvites the melody in a somber tone. David Lanz's "What Child is This" is delicate and reverential. The album ends with a dynamic 12-minute variation on the famous theme from Pachelbel's "Canon in D Major." Because of the abstractions in the variations, this album will be suitable for those occasions where you want suggestions of Christmas, but don't want to go overboard.Carol Wright, All Music Guide