June 5th, 2011 11:10 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with David Lanz, Grammy Nominated Pianist
GRAMMY NOMINATED PIANIST DAVID LANZ is a contemporary instrumental legend whose deeply-felt compositions helped forge the New Age music movement over 20 years ago. Since then, countless fans around the world have embraced his music which is infused with a passion and tranquility much sought after in the face of today`s world.
Born on June 28, 1950, Lanz started his performing career in his early teens playing keyboards with his rock band "The Towne Cryers". The Towne Cryers were a local hit and placed third in a field of 300 bands at the 1965 Seattle Teen Fair. (See Downloads for mp3`s from The Towne Cryers)
From his young teens through his late 20s, the Seattle native was a rocker with groups steeped in both classic covers and what he terms "Northwest Instrumental Rock". The talented young musician honed his skills working with an eclectic array of groups and recording projects, including playing keyboards on Terry Jack`s 1974 world wide smash hit "Seasons in the Sun" and recording one album for Mercury Records with Canadian super-group BRAHMAN in 1971. (See Downloads for mp3`s from Brahman)
YEARS LATER IN THE 1980`s, deftly playing blues and jazz in a piano bar, he "stumbled" onto a different path.
"My friend, Dr. Larry Iverson, was leading a seminar and wanted some music to illustrate the flow of energy through the centers of the body sometimes referred to as chakras," Lanz says. "I was also interested in the healing qualities of music and it`s effect on body and soul, so I made a little tape of solo piano for the seminar and just about everyone who heard it, to my utter surprise, wanted a copy!"
"There was no musical style quite like it in those days," he says. "And it certainly wasn`t called New Age. I used the music I composed for this seminar as the basis for my first solo piano album, HEARTSOUNDS."
1984`s HEARTSOUNDS helped launch Narada Records into the mainstream and led Lanz into a chart-topping career which featured nine bestselling solo albums and three popular collaborations with producer/rock guitarist Paul Speer--NATURAL STATES, DESERT VISION, and BRIDGE OF DREAMS.
Lanz`s solo recordings include the landmark CRISTOFORI`S DREAM (Number One on Billboard`s first adult alternative/new age chart for 27 weeks); NIGHTFALL, SKYLINE FIREDANCE, RETURN TO THE HEART, CHRISTMAS EVE, BELOVED, SACRED ROAD, the live recording AN EVENING WITH DAVID LANZ, and a variety of "Best of" collections including The Ultimate David Lanz Narada Collection: ROMANTIC.
MUSIC PUBLISHING GIANT, HAL LEONARD, has released over a dozen songbooks of David`s piano music, and in his instructional piano video, THROUGH THE HANDS OF DAVID LANZ (1997), David reveals his versatile style through discussions, demonstrations and performances of his beloved melodies. The video includes complete performances of some of his most popular songs.
On 1998`s SONGS FROM AN ENGLISH GARDEN, Lanz paid homage to many of his favorite classic 1960`s British Invasion bands, paving the way for 2010`s LIVERPOOL...RE-IMAGINING THE BEATLES.
The year 2000 brought David his first Grammy nomination for the new age-orchestral rock event EAST OF THE MOON, produced by legendary rock producer Hugh Padgham. (Sting, Phil Collins, Melissa Etheridge).
In 2002-2004, he set about FINDING PARADISE and THE GOOD LIFE in the realm of smooth jazz, working with instrumental stars Dave Koz, David Benoit, Peter White, Gregg Karukas, and Jeff Lorber.
IN 2005, DAVID LANZ AND WORLD FLUTIST GARY STROUTSOS created their first collaboration, SPIRIT ROMANCE, a recording of elegantly-composed serenades for piano and flute. In 2007 they came together again to create the moody Southwest inspired soundtrack for film maker Jan Nickman`s, SACRED EARTH (originally titled LIVING TEMPLES) aired nationally on PBS.
David`s brother, record producer, singer songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Gary Lanz, stepped in as the producer/engineer for both projects, as well as co-producing David`s solo piano recordings, SACRED ROAD REVISITED (2006), A CUP OF MOONLIGHT (2007), and PAINTING THE SUN (2008)
"All the years I was playing rock while getting into jazz and classical music, I had a feeling I might be destined for some success, and the fact that it came in Contemporary Instrumental music was a wonderful surprise," he says. The most fulfilling thing by far is meeting young musicians who get excited about making music by hearing my own. I think back to how important my influences were as a kid, and I feel blessed to play that role for others."