Jill Haley, who plays English horn on many of the CDs reviewed on this site, presents a collection of original compositions inspired by and dedicated to the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. Naturally, the music is as grand and as epic as the subject matter that informs it.
In addition to English horn, Haley also plays piano and oboe on the recording. She is joined by David Cullen on guitars and bass, Dana Cullen on French horn, and Graham Cullen on cello. While Haley’s compositions and instruments are the major components of the album, the contributions by the Cullens are just as integral to the overall musical portrait Haley paints of these majestic American landscapes.
The key to unlocking the beauty and grandeur of the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in musical form is in creating subtle and gentle impressions that evoke humbled awe. Haley understands this and executes this with aplomb, aided and abetted by the skillful and passionate playing of the Cullens. As enjoyable as this CD will be to anyone who appreciates well-crafted instrumental music, I imagine that this would be a perfect soundtrack to take on a trip to the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
An added bonus to the release is the album package itself, which includes Haley’s photographs of the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and makes for a nice commemorative keepsake. The cover features a beautiful photograph of one of the stunning rock canyons, and the attached interior 12-page photo booklet includes more breathtaking views of the park sites that inspired each of the tracks.