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Marcus Ariel "Piano Blossoms"

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    Posted: 05 Dec 2021 at 7:20pm
September 17, 2021 on MOONDO MUSIC LLC

PIANO BLOSSOMS, the newest album by MARCOS ARIEL, is an impressionistic, solo piano project inspired by Ariel’s love of nature, especially the beautiful flowers he encounters daily in Brazil, his native homeland, and Los Angeles, where he has been a part-time resident for over 25 years.
Ariel is a prolific pianist, flutist, and composer with an extensive catalog of recordings that span multiple genres that includes jazz, traditional Brazilian music, and smooth jazz. PIANO BLOSSOMS is his 33rd album as a leader and 3rd release on the Moondo Music label following notable album reissues, including Alone With Jobim (2008) and 4 Friends (2007). He has performed and recorded with most of the top artists in Brazil and the U.S. His debut CD, Bambu, which was released in 1983 simultaneously in Brazil, France, and England, became very popular in Europe where it is still played in clubs and on radio stations around the continent.
Ariel has been at the forefront of Brazilian music since the late 1970s. A true Carioca (a native of Rio), he began playing piano when he was just nine years old. He says, “Back then, every home in Rio had a piano. It was a piece of furniture, like a sofa or a table, that you had to have. My music studies began when I first heard my two older sisters having a music lesson. After their lesson, I went to the piano and just played by ear the music they were learning.” He began studying piano and flute at the School of Music of the Brazilian Symphonic Orchestra. He played flute on some of his earlier recordings, but on most of his albums, he has played only piano.
His father had dreams of Ariel becoming a classical pianist and encouraged him to listen to and absorb the masters like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin, but Ariel soon became enamored with traditional Brazilian music as well as contemporary American jazz, particularly Chick Corea, who was very influential in his musical development. He was also interested in acting and performed for a time professionally with the Guanabara Youth Theater. But after a brief stint in the Brazilian army, Ariel returned to music as his sole focus and became a full-time musician at the age of 20.
Ariel is a virtuoso, and as his reputation grew, he caught the attention of Warner Music, which licensed his album Terra Do Indio in 1989. It was the beginning of his travels to the United States and his association with American music labels like Nova Records and Moondo Music. His album Hand Dance (1992), produced by Mike Shapiro, garnered a great deal of attention and cemented his reputation on the American music scene.
Each of the compositions on PIANO BLOSSOMS is named for a flower. Some compositions were inspired by a particular flower and some compositions were written first and named for a flower that most befitted the music. Ariel’s old friend, Talaya Trigueros, a popular and long-time on-air personality on the WAVE radio 
station, helped him name several tunes. Ariel says, “The compositions on PIANO BLOSSOMS are the soundtrack of my life. When I was young, I spent a lot of time surfing at the beaches of Ipanema, Copacabana and Arpoador. In fact, my last project, Wave Hunter, which I released in 2019, was inspired by my love of the ocean and beaches in Rio and California. I still enjoy surfing, windsurfing, stand up paddling, and canoeing. But nowadays, I enjoy taking long walks in the morning and looking at flowers that grow wild in Rio and L.A. They evoke feelings and memories that I draw upon when I’m writing music.”
Ariel opens the album with “Passionflower.” Native to Brazil, it is the flowering part of the passionfruit vine. Based on a simple melody, it is the first composition Ariel wrote for the album and set the tone for the rest of the project. The narcissus, also known as a daffodil, heralds the end of winter. Ariel’s “Narcissus” is an impressionistic piece that captures the feeling of spring renewal. “Bougainvillea” grows everywhere in Brazil and Southern California. The plant is especially dear to Ariel because it was a favorite plant of his mother and brings to mind cherished childhood memories. Ariel represents the plant as a delicate waltz.

The “Plumerias” also known as frangipanis, is a beautiful tropical shrub. Ariel first wrote the music to this piece but named it afterwards with the help of his friend Trigueros. “Lantana” plants are known for their rounded clusters of small, brightly colored flowers. The composition has a brightness that reflects the plant’s multi-hued patina.
“Lavender” has a sweet floral scent that many people find very calming. Ariel captures its tranquil characteristics as a soothing lullaby. Ariel’s grandmother was very sweet and loved chrysanthemums. He wrote the sweet melody of “Chrysanthemum” in her memory.
Fuschias are abundant in South America. Ariel’s “Fuchsia” was the only track on the album that was completely improvised. The “Orchid” is a colorful, fragrant tropical plant that grows in every garden in Rio. One of Ariel’s granddaughters is nicknamed Lily. She is a sweet 5-year-old girl, and Ariel wrote the sweet tune “Calla Lily” for her.
A household name in Brazil, Marcos Ariel rejoins Moondo Music with a beautiful set of melodies captured on solo piano performances for PIANO BLOSSOMS -- an intimate, reflective experience that unveils Ariel’s warmth, sensitivity, and ability to paint the shapes and colors of nature with the piano as his canvas.
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PIANO BLOSSOMS is available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and all digital platforms as of September 17, 2021.
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