“Tears In Heaven” is originally a highly emotional song by Eric Clapton about the death of his young son. If you’ve seen the haunting MTV Unplugged video from 1992, you’re aware of how heart-wrenching this song is. It would seem impossible to pack that same punch in a purely instrumental version, and yet Steve Markoff, Patricia Lazzara, and Allison Brewster Franzetti have accomplished just that. The trio, two flutists and a pianist, have created a beautiful song that celebrates the Clapton original and holds onto it’s deep melancholy. This wonderful new single follows the successes of their last two albums, “Timeless” (2019), and “Romances In Blue” (2021) which both were highly praised.
Allison Brewster Franzetti’s skillful piano playing opens up “Tears In Heaven” and draws you in. With a Doctorate in Musical Arts from Rutgers University and multiple Grammy-Nominees, Brewster Franzetti provides a beautiful and technical soundscape that pulls the listener through the song. She keeps the track grounded and strong, somehow exuberant and somber at the same time. She keeps it true to the emotion of the original track while still making it wholly her own. Her piano playing reminds me of a swift river coursing along through the forest while birds and butterflies float overhead.
Uplifting the whole song is Patricia Lazzara’s incredible concert flute. Lazzara is a world renown solo, chamber, and classical flutist who has played at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in D.C. In “Tears In Heaven” her genius level skill is apparent, her flute warbles and croons, wafting through the air as easy as a feather. Like a great soprano, Lazzara is able to hit the highest notes gracefully without sounding tinny or shrill. She plays so cleanly you can almost hear Clapton singing the words to “Tears In Heaven.” Like Brewster Franzetti’s piano, Lazzara’s flute blends joy and sorrow together perfectly, every note full of reverence and light.
This version of “Tears In Heaven” wouldn’t be complete without Steve Markoff’s warm and jazzy alto-flute. While he didn’t find his way to this instrument until his 50’s, he has proven himself to be a remarkable player. His playing is so impressive that he is actually playing alongside his former teacher, Patricia Lazzara. She saw his true potential and he has now worked on her more recent solo projects with her as well as this current trio. He provides the earthy, almost fuzzy, glue that binds Lazzara’s bright flute and Brewster Franzetti’s poignant piano together. The way he plays flute makes me feel like I’m sinking into a really warm bath and I don’t have to get out any time soon.
Covering a well-known song is difficult already, but to attempt an instrumental cover of a song with deeply emotional lyrics is even more so. However, Steve Markoff, Patricia Lazzara, and Allison Brewster Franzetti have pulled it off pretty near perfectly. From the first enticing piano chords to the last fading flute note, “Tears In Heaven” is a tear jerker in it’s own right, beautiful and moving. Stay tuned for the trio’s new album, set to drop in 2022.
The music of Steve Markoff/ Patricia Lazzara has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division.