Generations Piano Trails | What You Have | 9 Songs | Chance: A Musical Play | Let It Fall

generations cover



I grew up with my very wonderful and talented niece who lived downstairs in a duplex I shared with my sister. Even though she’s 43 years younger than I am, I still say I’m the one who grew up as I watched her and listened to her singing. We had our first gig in Oakland at a convalescent home when she was 14 or 15. She had started singing at a very early age and then decided she wanted to attend OSA (Oakland School of the Arts) a well-known charter school devoted to the arts. Within a few years, she had a Spotify hit (“All I See Is Blue“) was in the finals on American Idol finally get tossed out by Katy Perry.  She has since moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA.

With GENERATIONS, I wanted to put an EP with Sarah singing songs that I had written including 2 new songs that were written especially for her.  There’s a video of our release day streaming concert.  It was tricky since I was in San Francisco and she was in Los Angeles.  Catch the video on the right side.


PIANO TRAILS is 4 improvisations based on themes I’d been working on. Sometimes I just let my fingers do the work and the mind wanders, One of the pieces was composed for my dear friend Tammy Hall to play at her at home COVID concerts and she played it for me once.

“Musician and composer Richard Isen has an impressive ability to convey the shifting moods and energies of musical journeys through the use of smooth, wave-like progressions of notes. He also demonstrates a strong sense of artistic individuality with his latest composition, ‘Variations On The River.’ —Leech Music Review


This song also from my musical CHANCE was rewritten several times and was beautifully performed by the many actors that played the character Chance.  In the final production, I think I finally got this song right but I also loved the way Grant Richards, the young actor playing the part,  performed it so perfectly and I knew he put a lot of detailed work into it since it’s really a complex monologue with lots of emotional switches.
I asked him to record it for me and I added virtual instruments to it and I was so pleased with the results that I released it as a single.
Also available at: amazon | itunes | spotify

For many years I would sit at the piano and play a lot of songs that I love trying to see if I could find something new in them, make them own and how they came out. I started recording them keeping very simple just piano and voice without messing around with technology of recording. Then I started adding some virtual instruments and other sounds. After several years, I had 9 recordings I really liked and so I released them as a CD simply entitled 9 Songs.
Also available at:  amazon | itunes | napster | spotify

I’ve been writing for the musical theater since 1976 and sad to say most of the work has disappeared.  Since digital recording has become so affordable and sounds so great, I made a vow to myself that I would always put an original cast album for better or worse. By that I mean, I will probably cut some songs, rewrite songs and add new songs. I’ll probably also find other singer/actors that I feel do a better job than the original cast. Still, the original cast recording is important and so here it is for CHANCE. I’m proud of it!
Also available at:  amazon | itunes | napster | spotify

In the mid-90s, I acquired some of the first digital audio converters available as well as the very first software that combined midi and digital recording together.  I decided I would record a CD (this is before Apple ITunes) using the software STUDIOVISION by a company called Opcode.  I had a Mac Quadra and the Proteus XR which is a separate sound module played vi midi.  I also had a Roland drum machine.  In the process recording which took several years, I learned a lot about using computers and I found out I had a real talent for IT in the process.
But when I listen to it now, it’s not that great sonically.  The worst part is the piano patch in the Proteus that sounds very brittle and I’m not the best midi drummer.  But I like most of the songs and sometimes I think I want to re-record the whole record with real musicians and with the amazing library of virtual instruments we have now.
Still, just like the first scratchy wax records, this recording demonstrates the beginnings of midi and digital audio at a time when digital recording was mostly for classical music.  I’m still very proud of it and it was a proverbial fork in the road that I took. I see now that because of LET IT FALL, I ended up as a principal software engineer and that made a huge difference in my life.
Also available at:  amazon | itunes | napster | spotify