Roots: The Solo Acoustic Piano Album

"Playing on a favorite piano can inspire me greatly, or playing on a brand new keyboard and discovering its special sounds can also be very inspirational. Every acoustic piano has its own soul and its own songs, and I like to say that the instrument helps me find the songs it has inside..." ~ Laurie Z.




Mp3's of Laurie's music are also available for digital download via Bandcamp



Roots: The Solo Piano Album Song Titles


1. Stranger in a Familiar Land  8. Roots
2. Michael’s Song  9. The Still of the Night
3. In the Monterey Mist  10. Invisibility
4. For the Love of a Child 11. Too Blue
5. The Mysterious Painter 12. The River
6. From the Ashes 13. Kelly's Garden 
7. Dream Come True 14. Good Night, My Friend
  • Considered for 8 Grammy nominations
  • Recorded live with no edits or overdubs, direct to high resolution digital audio
  • One of the top instrumental releases of the year according to music
    critics, with radio airplay throughout the world
Song Descriptions:
1. Stranger in a Familiar Land   
"Stranger" describes an experience that I had a few months earlier where, although I had been in this place so many times before, something very significant had changed inside me, making me a “stranger in a familiar land.” The next morning, I awoke with this theme pounding in my head and immediately knew the title, and that it was meant to be on Roots.
2. Michael’s Song 
This is one of my earlier compositions, written in a romantic moment. Picture the bride and groom walking down the aisle as they prepare to share their life together, full of happiness and love. Michael's Song is a wonderful composition to start with if you're a newer student of piano.
3. In the Monterey Mist  
This is one of the approximately 1/2 dozen songs on Roots which were written in just a couple of takes live in the studio in the five evenings that we recorded the album. "Mist" relates to an experience I had standing on the balcony at the beautiful Highlands Inn in Monterey, California after performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival. I envisioned my memory of the unusual mist there in patches along the ocean and the trees on the hillside, which evoked a sense of peace and connectedness. This song was composed in semi-darkness, intending to avoid melodic direction and destination, simply being.
4. For the Love of a Child
This song and The Mysterious Painter were both created in concert, and the concepts and keys were from audience suggestions, which I am known to do in many of my Solo Piano Concerts. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the child's first steps, and the progression as the child learns to run. I had to literally study the video of the performance to remember what I had done!
5. The Mysterious Painter
The woman who suggested the idea for this song in concert is a painter, and I pictured the torment of a perhaps under-appreciated creative soul who feels the artistic drive to paint, yet doesn't fit into mainstream society. I was very pleased that another audience member suggested A-minor as the key - it's one of my favorites, and has that dreamy, mysterious quality I needed for the song.
6. From the Ashes
This was another song written in the recording studio, about one of my most cherished friends, who had come back from the worst things life can throw at you, including surviving cancer twice, and experiencing his house and all his possessions burning to the ground. Like the phoenix, he has come back to fly up "from the ashes" with incredible strength and courage. It's also a stylistic tribute to one of my biggest influences, Elton John.
7. Dream Come True
This piece was a one-take improvisation. I have absolutely no idea where it came from, but I felt on playback that the phrase "my dream come true" fit beautifully into the chorus, and really described my whole musical career in a nutshell.
8. Roots
This is the oldest song on the album - it was written (except the opening) when I was 17, one of the first songs I remember writing. This song has had several sets of lyrics written for it, but it always sort of had a life of its own. The minor key is very significant - it speaks to the inner turmoil of a tortured teen trying to figure out the meaning of life and other small stuff like that.
9. The Still of the Night
I've always been a night owl, and I love the quiet and stillness that exists when everyone else has gone to bed. This song was written about 3 am, when I had just gotten a Disklavier in my home and was enjoying "bonding" with my new instrument in the middle of the night. A new instrument always inspires new music for me, and this was like our first sensuous dance together.
10. Invisibility
Invisibility was also written in the studio, although I went in with the title and the concept. It's told from the viewpoint of a child (hence the simple and sweet melody)....who wishes she was invisible, so she could watch people all she wanted, and even stare, without incurring the wrath of adults. I've always been a people-watcher, and I used to wish I could sit on the street corner and just watch, and watch, and watch......I like to tell this story in concert, and say that it's one of the reasons my career choice is so perfect - I get to watch the audience watching me!
11. Too Blue
This was another improvisation, actually the second take (Blue 2, or "Too Blue"), during which I had the memory of the Monterey Jazz festival firmly planted in my head, remembering the incredible musicians and music I heard all over the fairgrounds, playing jazz, soul, and lots 'n lots of blues…
12. The River
"The River" was the first song that I knew had to be on Roots. I tell its story in concert: I went to bed one night thinking about a quote I had just read, attributed to an ancient Greek philosopher - "You never put your hand in the same river twice." It seemed very meaningful to me, as an allegory for life, like a river, constantly changing, constantly flowing. I woke up early, stumbled over to the piano and tape deck, and wrote this song exactly as you hear it, start to finish, including the verses, chorus, and bridge. I've never changed a thing about this song, and I hear tell that there's quite a few people hungering to write lyrics to it, which is fine with me!
                                                                                                                                                               On a more personal note, my husband had been listening to my albums for years before we met. He was working for the world's largest talent agency, and when he found himself humming "The River" after going through a major surgery, felt drawn to call me in for a business meeting. The business meeting became the beginning of our friendship and marriage...  
13. Kelly’s Garden   
Kelly's was written when I was asked to perform on St. Patrick's Day and it was suggested that I play something "Irish". I like to tell my audiences to picture rolling green, lush hills in Ireland, a picnic, a frolicking couple, and a lot of love and fun! (which is what I pictured when I wrote it!)
14. Good Night, My Friend
Kelly's is a demanding song to play, and after we recorded it, my hands were tired. I put my head down on the piano and my fingers rested on the keys, and this song is what resulted. Again, one take, no idea what force sent it to me, but when we sat in the control room on playback, there was absolutely no question that this was the end to the album, a final "goodnight" to my audience, my friends.

What The Reviewers Say:  

“Laurie Z.s third album, Roots, is her first collection of solo acoustic piano compositions. This superbly recorded album contains the passion and melodic flow of her previous releases, but is Laurie's most intimate release to date. Laurie's unique ability to blend classical, jazz and new age influences create a sophisticated, yet accessible follow-up to Life Between The Lines.”

~ Michael Carter, William Morris Agency


“WOW!!! Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!”

~ Al Santos, WJZW-FM, Washington D.C.


“An expertly crafted album of original solo piano compositions...chock full of indelible melodies.”

~ Time and a Word, The International Music Magazine


“I love this album! Roots is an autobiography set to music, and clearly demonstrates Laurie's diverse and deeply personal composing styles as well as her mastery of the piano. A classically-trained pianist since the age of four, her touch is warm and expressive. Everything about this album rings true and real, and I hope it is the first of many solo piano recordings from this dynamic composer and artist.”

~ Kathy Parsons, Wind & Wire


“Laurie Z. has recorded a very personal and thoughtful work created solely at the piano. There is solid music here, worthy of concentrated listening. These tracks flow like musical water.”

~ Garrison Frost, The Beach Reporter


“Strikingly beautiful…”

~ PJ Birosek, New Age Retailer


“A master of shading, intertwining chords in a way that can be as intimate as a whisper, or as commanding as a whole symphonic chorus. Standout cuts include ‘Dream Come True,’ ‘Michael’s Song’ and ‘In the Monterey Mist.’”

~ Scott Barker, Editor, Tucson Lifestyles Magazine


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