Who: Grammy Award winner pianist Omar Akram
Where: Born in New York with an ancestral home of Afghanistan
What: musical weavings of world, new age and smooth jazz
When: Recording debut 2002
Sounds like: the exotic leanings of Yanni
Omar Akram is by no means an undiscovered artist in the New Age/World/Smooth Jazz genres, but it has been 6 years since his pleasant yet subpar Daytime Dreamer that this would be an excellent opportunity to rediscover this unique artist. Prior to Daytime Dreamer, he made three sublime albums in a row in the form of Free As A Bird, Secret Journey and the Grammy award winner Echoes Of Love. With the gap in recordings, one might ask which category is Destiny destined for? One listen to this album or even just a small peek at it, one will instantly know that Omar Akram is clearly right back on track with a sensationally inspiring winner of an album, so much so that one has to wonder why this album is not also destined for a Grammy.
While all the music is composed and produced by Omar Akram, he does not hesitate to bring in impressive friends to assist him. First, we have the world-renowned producer Walter Afanasieff (who has worked with the likes of George Benson, Kenny G, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey to name a few), that co produces on the blooming “Lotus Flower” as well as the exotic closer “Here I Am”. The latter includes his vocal work, along with the poignant guitars of Ramon Stagnaro. Omar is also assisted on two tracks by the arrangement and conducting of Shardad Rohani who is well known for a little gig with Yanni Live At The Acropolis. Rohani’s contributions can be heard on the heart-rending “My Promise To You” along with the slow churning builder “Regenerate Love”. The latter features Akram’s beautiful piano work interplaying with Rohani’s arrangements and Steve Oliver’s guitar work. Add David Foster’s engineer/mixer Dave Reitzas into the mix one can only expect nothing short of a total winner of an album.
However, let’s remember that this album is about this Grammy Award winning artist Omar Akram, who with or without the above company, has created an album that is flying in the upper stratosphere of beautiful creativity and inspiration. From the stirring opener “Take Me Away” to the pulsating flirtatious title track or the soft rhythmic “Mystery Train” with Akram’s unforgettable melodious piano work, Destiny is emphatically his best to date.
While not reviewing as frequently as past years, it is these types of sublime albums that keeps bringing this reviewer back to the keyboard. And while late to the party, thankfully we did not miss this celebration of a rich harmonic musical tapestry of world, new age and smooth jazz, synonymous with Omar Akram’s recordings.
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