Waterhouse 1979 / Angel Air 2018
Scientology scion’s stars-strewn foray into fusion and chamber charm.
One of her teachers characterized tunes L. Ron Hubbard’s daughter used to write as “appallingly unstructured” for a classical piano player, yet that’s what could make Diana a jazz material. and here’s the testament: the unlikely artist’s only album. Her music had enough charm and grace to it to gain interest not only from regular followers of Dianetics but also from a few luminaries involved in the movement and their fellow players who added subtle hues and frills to the lady’s monochrome pieces, the very gist of this record.
Drawing on Rachmaninoff and other Romantic influences, the cinematic simplicity of elegiac ballads such as “Rose Colored Lights” is expressive and arresting, with Danny Seiwell’s sensual drumming measuring quiet pleasures as outlined by opulent strings and brushed with otherworldly synthesizer. Chick Corea may weave his cosmic magic on “Bewitched” and Patrick Moraz shimmer on “Morning” where emotional promise becomes palpable, although it’s a two-movement epic “Russian Roulette” that unfolds the whole progressive intent of Hubbard’s orchestrally enhanced, if somewhat quirky, enterprise.
More traditional, with Ravel’s spirit in its slow roll, “Arabia” must attract any art-rock aficionado, but the splashes of “Berlin 1945” are as cold as they’re triumphant, and there’s Stanley Clarke’s gentle bass to soften the depth of “Dream #23” which will expand further in “Dream #5” after “Rainy Streets” has grown in scope from sparse drops to the woodwind gusts that support Diana’s dynamic chords. Deceptively chamber-like, the cello-charmed “Desperation” will turn out to be the most playful number, and the Bach-evoking “Medieval Heart” most abstract, while “Midnight #3” – based ostensibly on “Moonlight Sonata” – should give the album a nocturnal finale. So unstructured or not, “LifeTimes” can’t be called appaling; this record is rather enchanting, and it’s a pity Ms Hubbard didn’t get around to another one.