Midnight Clear CD Review: Muse’s Muse
Reviewed by JJ Biener

Do you remember that kid in high school who played the piano? He played for the school choir. He played at assemblies. When the annual talent show came around, there he was playing accompaniment for the soloists. Then he would get up there on his own and play some complicated ragtime piece. Put a piece of sheet music in front of him and he would play it note for note just like it was written. Remember him? In this case Joe Curry is that guy.

Joe Curry has just recently released his third CD. Not bad for a guy just a couple of years out of college. He released his first CD Milestones in 1999 while still in high school. He released his second in 2003, In Focus, after graduating from college with a marketing degree. This third CD is a collection of traditional Christmas songs called Midnight Clear.

All the usual suspects are here, Angels We Have Heard On High, Silent Night, Frosty, Each one is approached in straightforward manner. Even where Curry has reharmonized the chords, he never strays too far from expectation. He has put his music theory classes to good use. Parallel motion, contrary motion, and counterpoint are all well represented.

There is no denying Curry’s technical talent. His timing is impeccable, almost metronomic in its accuracy. Each note is struck with authority. His arrangements are solid and well thought out. The recording is equally well done. The Yamaha C3 Grand Piano he plays on this recording sounds incredible.

Midnight Clear may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect Christmas CD, but if you like church music played very well, you will like this CD. It will be interesting to see what Joe Curry comes up with if he is ever able to work on music full time. He just recently started an MBA program at Notre Dame.