Fred Simon – The Beach Boys Distilled (review)

By Keith Devoe

The last four days have tried my patience as a parent; what I need is some relaxing music from my go-to group for everything, The Beach Boys.  I’m currently listening to reinterpretations of ten of their early to mid-1960s hits played solo on piano by Fred Simon. Fred’s no stranger to music, he’s been making music for more than 30 years and he has given us a gift with his piano interpretations of some classic Beach Boys songs.  They’re light and airy, happy and sometimes dissonant.

Sure, some of these songs are short, but Fred tastefully expands their form from the two and a half minute originals to songs reaching toward 5 minutes.

This collection was formerly released on 03/19/2003

These embellished tracks are mostly very recognizable, and at times are unfamiliar.  You can hear the emotions in the playing, hope, happiness and a bit of melancholy. Stripped of their harmonies and instruments, these songs weave in and out very naturally.

Fred isn’t providing a simple piano recital, emotions abound, and the musical dynamics coast from soft to loud, like waves on the shoreline.

The music shares the honesty/authenticity of the originals.

If you’re looking for something new in something old, music to relax by, I think you’ll find Fred’s interpretations refreshing. These songs are kind of like a little treasure.

Listen here

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