On her new album, “Mesa Verde Soundscapes” the American artist Jill Haley continues to share her impressions gained from visiting her country’s national parks. Musical excursions to Glacier National Park and Bryce Canyon inspired her previous two releases.
In this album Jill proposes we visit Mesa Verde, if only in our imaginations. This move is spurred by the gorgeous photographs in the enclosed booklet which depict the most impressive sights which Mesa Verde National Park has to offer. The park is located on a mountainous plateau rising approximately 6,000 feet above sea level (although the highest point of the plateau reaches 8572 feet). It is in southeastern Colorado and was the first of its kind to receive the title of national park. The park’s main attractions are the numerous cliff dwellings, in which the Anasazi tribe (ancient Pueblo peoples) lived. The plateau itself is completely covered by forest, which inspired the name Mesa Verde, which means “green table” in Spanish.
After this brief historical overview, it is time to turn to the music. As before, Jill Haley plays her parts on the oboe, English horn, and piano, while her friends, relatives of the guitarist David Cullen, accompany her on the violin, horn, viola, and guitar. The oboe is an instrument with a unique, pronouncedly “academic” sound and this allusion to classical music is heard in its voice throughout the whole album. The piano takes a lyrical role; its parts are calm and romantic, which it especially reveals in the solo compositions. However, sometimes, especially at the beginning of the album, this instrument allows itself a more emotional voice catching the light, breeze-like quality of wind instruments.
As in this American’s previous albums, you will not hear travel commentary or scenic sketches. Also, do not expect nature sounds, such as wind or birdsong, summoned to emphasize or complete the musical landscape. Instead, Haley shares her emotions and impressions of her native land’s majestic beauty. It is exactly here that she and her companions succeed very well. Here you will hear the experience which is felt by a person first visiting Mesa Verde (or any other grand park) especially on a warm and sunny day. There is rapture, enthusiasm, a light intoxication from the clear air, joy, and other positive feelings, all of which help you ultimately to discover tranquility and the consciousness that you have just come in to contact with something inexpressibly ancient. This antiquity answers you if only in the light touch of the wind and the murmur of the trees which spread their green crowns at that height. All of this makes itself felt and visualized when you hear this splendid, beautiful, and heartfelt album.