Ravenna by Jeff Johnson and Phil Keaggy

Ravenna

If you don’t know about the mosaics of Ravenna, Italy, do yourself a favor and Google them. Then spend a few minutes looking at these beautiful 1,600-year-old pieces of art that tell the Christian story. Inspired by this place and this art, keyboard player Jeff Johnson and guitarist Phil Keaggy have created Ravenna, an album of musical reflections on the mosaics. Titled simply “Mosaic 1” through “Mosaic 8,” these gentle yet tuneful meditations exude the peace and tranquility Johnson and Keaggy experienced while looking at them

The album opens with the sounds of nature and church bells. Chords played on the piano usher us in a quiet meditative space until, about a minute in, the acoustic guitar joins with a rhythmic figure that evokes many of the same emotions that spending time with the mosaics do. And, just like these mosaics, the music was created to bring glory to God. In their fourth album together, Johnson and Keaggy layer acoustic and electric guitars, pianos, organs and synths, as well as bass and percussion to form their own aural mosaics. They are in no hurry, with each piece running around seven minutes, and they carefully develop motifs and melodies for each mosaic so that each has a different character. This album pleases the ear and lifts the spirit. (Ark Music)

About the Author

Robert J. Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance learning at Calvin Seminary.

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