"Waybright is a composer, keyboardist, floral artist and wildflower preservationist.
This project brings all of that together in a twelve track CD + 32 page CD sized book featuring illustrations, artwork and stories about each of the wildflowers that every track represents.
compositions are intensely melodic and brilliantly orchestrated, each with it's own spirited vision and expressive purpose; even though this is a concept album, any of these pieces could easily stand on it's own: zero filler.
The material seems to span a lot of interests, but it fits well somewhere between progressive rock (structurally and conceptually) and - don't want to say new-age, the word has too many negative connotations, and the material here really transcends a lot of fluff that new-age music tends to be, but it should appeal to some of the same listeners.
The casual listener might at first be reminded of Kit Watkins' solo work, yet the material here tends to be more upbeat and positive, not a lot of dark moodiness or ambient soundscapes.
Interestingly enough, it's some of Kit's old band mates supporting Waybright
here: Rick Kennell (bass and orchestrations), Stan Whitaker (guitar) and Ron Riddle (drums) with Gary Blu (flute and horn melodies) and GerardoVelez (congas and timbales on a couple of tracks).
Let me explain: This beautiful instrumental ode to the magic and beauty of flowers - headed by keyboardist/orchestrator Leah Waybright - includes three members of Happy the Man among the supporting cast: guitarist Stanley Whitaker, drummer Ron Riddle and bassist Rick Kennell.
A classically trained keyboardist, Waybright
is first and foremost a floral artist, and with this album, combines both her
The music is reminiscent of Happy
the Man; new agey, serene, yet always with a solid, bouncy feel to propel the music along.
Not surprising, Stan Whitaker, Rick Kennell and Ron Riddle are the other prominent instrumentalists here, with a few guests on reeds and percussion.
Forming a more than competent background, the HtM members are not the main stars here; Waybright
is clearly in control and is the main force in the proceedings.
Digital keys are the main focus, but she
uses nice and safe timbres, avoiding the cheese factor.
does a wonderful job of illustrating each flower in song.
As can be expected, tracks like "African Violet" contain tribal-like percussion and a few overlaid jungle sounds.
"Birds of Paradise" brings to mind a steamy Malaysian jungle, with more ethnic percussion and echoed sounds of birdcalls overhead.
The majestic "Forget-Me-Not" closes the album with great synth lines and some excellent acoustic guitar.
A peaceful and beautiful album, Beauty Gone Wild
provides a nice outlet from the typical bombast of symphonic prog.
To top off the exquisite music, the album comes with a small, hardcover book featuring painted scenes involving each flower, and a brief history of the flower written by Waybright
Like an Impressionist painting, Beauty Gone Wild
will absorb you in that vaguely familiar texture."
ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN MAGAZINE
has a very smooth sounding recording here.
The songs are thoroughly addicting.
has a wonderful talent to make her
is a very creative composer, who can really get to your heart.
I'm impressed as this is s a work of art and it is a must for any modern jazz, modern age, or easy listening music lover."
FROM THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK, JOURNAL NEWS
Leah Waybright, curator of Wildflower Island at Teatown Reservation, wears many hats-floral designer, teacher and lecturer.
is the woman who can enjoy several talents, pursue each with enthusiasm and then combine them to create a thing of beauty.
And, even better, make others happy by doing so.
Such is the case with Leah Waybright
recently released book-compact disc, "Beauty Gone Wild,
" is a testament to her
love for wildflowers as well as her
skills as a composer, pianist and communicator.
But wait, there's more.
Waybright, who became curator of Wildflower Island at Teatown Lake Reservation, a nature preserve and education center in Ossining, also happens to be a highly regarded floral designer as well as teacher and lecturer.
has practiced her
floral craft in suburban Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York, including at Flowers by Frank Laning in Chappaqua.
A member of the American Institute of Floral Designers, she has been teaching at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx since 1988.
four-session class on "Basic Centerpieces and Arrangements" begins July 15.
with lilies, roses, delphinium, viburnum and asters, set off by ivy, at a demonstration seminar in Chappaqua.
In music, in writing, in gardening and in floral arranging, all the same principles come into play, Waybright
says, ticking a few of them off: "Shading, harmony, rhythm."
pirouette behind a table stacked high with piles of flowers in different hues, shapes and colors-selecting a branch of gracefully arching high-bush blueberry from on pile, a few lush roses and lisianthus from another, perhaps thrusting in sprigs of limonia-is like seeing a choreographer who knows all the moves but is still surprised by the dance.
Just one hour during a recent presentation for the Briarcliff Garden Club
called "Mad About Color," and without a dress rehearsal, Waybright
put together seven unique flower arrangements, all the while describing what she
was doing and why.
The audience applauded every arrangement, commenting on how fluidly and seemingly without effort she
created the pieces.
Elegant yet natural was the look she
"We may not love every flower," she
said at one point, commenting on some people's propensity to sneer at carnations, "but I do.
held up a magenta carnation called 'Fancy' and found the perfect place for it in the arrangement.
Stargazer lilies, pink roses, blue ageratum, Queen Anne's lace and asters in a simple box, in an arrangement by Leah Waybright
Not only did Waybright research
the history, mythology and folklore surrounding the flowers and write their stories, but she
also orchestrated her
compositions for each flower and performed them on piano and keyboard.
The musical pieces for the album were composed over several years and recorded in Waybright's
After working in florist shops for 20 years, Waybright, in her early 40s, decided to "retire" from her day job in flower shops but certainly not from floral arranging, giving demonstrations to garden clubs, teaching at the New York Botanical Garden, composing music or giving piano lessons to children in the evenings, another of her favorite activities.
"I retired into gardening," she
With a bit more free time, she looked for an opportunity to volunteer and found it at Teatown Lake Reservation, in Ossining.
"I started to volunteer with Jane Darby, the curator, at Wildflower Island, in hopes of becoming a guide," she
"We became best friends, and she
became my mentor.
After Darby died, Waybright was named curator of Wildflower Island.
Along with her
duties of guiding tours and organizing the thirty-some volunteers and the programs at Wildflower Island
serves on several committees championing the preservation of wildflowers.
, who teaches floral design, with a white anemone.
In the lushly illustrated book accompanying "Beauty Gone Wild," Waybright dedicates her
composition "Forget-Me-Not" to Darby.
It is a moving piece and doubly effective when listening to the music while reading her
account of how the wildflower came to be named.
"The language of flowers defines eternal love as the forget-me-not," Waybright
"As a tiny blossom growing by the water, it must entice an onlooker to come very close to notice its beauty and charm."She goes on to describe how a young man, enchanted with the tiny sky-blue flower growing above a river, stoops to pick a bouquet for his
companion but slips and falls down the steep bank into the swiftly moving stream.
emerges long enough to see his
love at the river bank, he
shouts, "Please love me ... and never forget me." The bouquet of blue flowers floats to the surface and thereafter is known as the forget-me-not.