Adding a flute to a rock or pop track is not a new thing – just ask Jethro Tull, The Guess Who, Lizzo, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Beatles, Oasis and many more. The woodwind instrument tone, distinctive as it is, nestles itself into the listener’s subconscious and paints a different mood or can even create an entirely different storyline. Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara, a flutist duo that hails from New Jersey, have released the single “Nights In White Satin” from their album By Request. Featuring multi-Grammy Nominated pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti, “Nights In White Satin” is an instrumental version of The Moody Blues’ iconic soundscape.
And what a journey the flutes prove to be in this updated adventure. The sonic blend of the harmonies, floating above and weaving in-and-out of the piano base, is just the right energy I sought in an instrumental track. I’m very familiar with the original song, and this particular cover is rather endearing. I loved the intimacy of the song, the feeling of being very grounded. I found the flute tones to be organic and that in itself made me feel like this song was much ingrained into Mother Earth. I think the woodsy, forest-like colors emerged for me.
The piano had blue undertones, almost the same blue to match a night sky. I felt very at ease with all the instrumentation, but I found myself treading longer into the piano waters. The piano keys had both a delicate tone, and a tone that evoked the idea of being distraught. I felt like the piano, in subsequent listens, provided a dramatic listening experience just as much as the duo flutists.
Markoff (alto flute) and Lazzara (concert flute) have found an almost symbiotic relationship in Franzetti, a two-time Latin Grammy nominee (2014, 2018) for Best Classical Album and is a 2008 Grammy nominee for Best Instrumental Soloist Without Orchestra. Lazzara is a three-time winner of the Artists International Competition and has performed on such esteemed stages as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
Markoff and Lazzara’s previous collections include Romances in Blue, and the 18-track whopper Timeless – Hits of Love and Hope From Pop, Rock & Soft Rock. I think, too, what makes “Nights In White Satin” not only an interesting choice, but one that has aged well. You can still feel the harmonies and intentions of this song and it feels universal. It extends beyond boundaries and languages – the feeling of love is presented so well. I feel like you can still be happy after listening to such a dramatic song. There is joy there. There are also feelings of disappointment and pain. It’s quite therapeutic and calls to mind the idea of being a great ‘background’ song for journaling or meditation. It’s something to keep on hand for any yoga practitioner or if you just enjoy a hot cup of tea on a Sunday morning and want to sit on your front porch and listen. I think “Nights In White Satin” is just wonderfully done.