Inside of eighteen songs that span the western songbook from one generation to the next with but one thing in common – whole tonality and top notch melodicism – we find Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara ready and willing to duel for our hearts with little more than a pair of flutes in Timeless – Hits of Love and Hope from Pop, Rock & Soft Rock. They dance to the soft harmony of Allison Brewster Franzetti’s piano in “Hallelujah,” cut into and old fashioned American groove in Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” toy with the soft rock ballad “Wonderful Tonight” with careful aesthetical dexterities, pay tribute to Elton John in “Your Song,” kick up some evocative tones and rhythm for the ages in “Havana” and flirt with ambient themes in “Titanium,” but no matter what song they’re laying into here, these flutists bring their A-game to the studio in what could well be one of the more complete and mature instrumental albums of the last two years. Timeless – Hits of Love and Hope from Pop, Rock & Soft Rock is a great collaboration, but more importantly, it’s an incredible homage to everything that makes pop/rock so fun to listen to.
Markoff and Lazzara don’t take an experimental run at all eighteen of the songs on Timeless, but with that said, there’s definitely a lot of work on their part to make sure every one of these tracks is uniquely constructed as to avoid the pitfalls that come with being too consistent in a collaboration. “Unchained Melody,” “American Tune” and “Hallelujah” round out the LP in what feels and sounds like a grouping that was never meant to be broken up from the order it’s presented to us in the tracklist (even in casual listens), but within each of the songs, there’s an unparalleled essence of artistry being strung together by Markoff, Lazzara and pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti one beautiful beat at a time. A lot of love and energy went into making Timeless – Hits of Love and Hope from Pop, Rock & Soft Rock as endearing a piece as it is, and that’s obvious even to the most novice of music critics among us.
Though I wasn’t particularly familiar with Steve Markoff nor Patricia Lazzara before I picked up my copy of Timeless at the behest of a colleague in the industry just recently, I’m very interested in hearing what they’re going to develop together in future collaborations (if there are any). Markoff is definitely the bedrock instrumentalist in this release, but he’s got a magic burning between him and Lazzara, as well as with Franzetti for that matter, that I would love to hear them expand upon at a later date. The sky is the limit for a group of musicians who have found each other’s boundaries within the studio environment, and in the case of this coupling of flutists and their well-chosen pianist, they’ve got all the right pieces to make some deeply impactful instrumental tunes in the next few years if they remain as committed to the craft as they were here.
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