“Nights In White Satin” is the new instrumental release from flutists Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara. The former student and teacher combo, both from New Jersey, give a broader sense of light and hope to The Moody Blues classic. Also featuring Grammy Winning Allison Brewster Franzetti on piano, “Nights In White Satin” only slightly reimagines the original. I think it keeps true to the 1967 release and while you don’t hear the words, the sentiment and themes are audaciously explored. The final track is a lovely, captivating performance.
One doesn’t have to have discerning, classical music flare to appreciate the careful connection and modest subtleties happening in this track. I think if the idea of listening to a flute sounds daunting or unappealing, listeners will be quickly convinced to the contrary. Markoff, who performs alto flute, portrays freeing tones. Moving over Franzetti’s piano bed and colliding with Lazzara’s (concert) flute, Markoff shines the most during the song’s choruses. Still, there is something beautiful about the ‘in-between’ moments where a stillness calms the listener, almost caressing their ears with comfort.
Prog rock music, which The Moody Blues pioneered, lends itself perfectly to an idea of bridging pop music and symphonic melodies. Markoff and Lazzara’s flutes dance in their rendition, in a dignified and approachable way. You don’t feel like you’re at a stuffy orchestra – you feel as though you are swept away into a moving love story. Through their flutes, you feel as though you are just a speck on the universe.
They create this galaxy of colors, of moving light that grips the listener on each note. I wouldn’t call it extreme, but I felt like the tones and vibe of “Nights In White Satin” stretches beyond any walls. I also felt an overwhelming sense of that light and that hopefulness. The flow of the flutes also exudes a sense of melancholy, but the joy outruns the sadness. Sometimes we need those songs that bring both tears of joy and pain. I think Markoff and company handle this with both care and pristine artistry. I wanted to keep listening, keep turning each rounded corner for what was next.
Overall, “Nights In White Satin” is proof that Markoff, Lazzara and Franzetti operate on an entirely elevated playing field. They really delight the listener and it’s quite real that they have a natural synergy. I loved the way the flutes tell this angle of the story. I think the original is so epic, so ingrained in our brains it’s hard to not compare, but this version has a real honesty and interesting interpretation that it would be hard to not put it on the same pedestal.
The flute is authentic and so passionate in its own right that we don’t think of it having the same jarring, emotional impact as say a lead, electric guitar. Markoff and Lazzara successfully present to a listening audience that it indeed does. The pride, the commitment is awe- inspiring. “Nights In White Satin” is another hit for this spellbinding little trio.