Recent Music Industry Reviews:
2023 NAPPA Awards music Judge's remarks:
“A perennial children’s music favorite, Steve Pullara has been hailed – by NAPPA and others – for his smart lyrics, whether heartfelt, humorous, or both. He also has a knack for creating themed albums, with past releases focusing on outer space, animals, and his Italian heritage. A look at Aquarium Rhapsody’s song titles (from “Frog Hop” to “Pond Swirl”) makes it clear that there is a water theme happening here too. Pullara, however, is up to something new on Aquarium Rhapsody because it’s a totally instrumental (in a sense, a musical flip from the a cappella album he did in 2020). One sign of his different musical intent here is that Pullara renamed his backing group from the Cool Beans Band to the Cool Beans Ensemble. The nine tracks, which add up to just over a half hour of classical-style music, definitely make for a thoroughly lovely listen for the entire family. There is a wonderful gentle, lightly playful quality to these pieces that would provide an excellent chill-out soundtrack for parents and children alike. Pullara often likes to deliver little lessons through his lyrics. He does it on Aquarium Rhapsody through the set of instrumental music by showing that just because you are known for one talent it doesn’t mean you can’t excel at another.”
For Ages: Entire family
PAULA SLADE, Audiobooks, Entertainment & Media : "Grammy winner Steve Pullara and his Cool Beans Ensemble for Children has delivered a hit album once again with a charming collection of classic-style offerings in AQUARIUM RHAPSODY. Designed to definitely entertain the youngest ones, these delicate musical renderings cleverly introduce multiple layers of instruments while following an overall musical theme. Perfect for fun listening, dancing and play while cleverly exposing children to the intricacies of classical music, which are found in this latest offering."
Cyndy Drue Radio DJ, Philadelphia Media:
A Review of "Aquarium Rhapsody" by Steve Pullara's Cool Beans Ensemble: "Wow, just when you think Steve Pullara can’t get any better, he comes up with a classical album for families!
He actually makes classical music sound kid friendly. It’s got a joyousness to it, upbeat and bright, not somber and serious the way classical music can be.And wait, is that Steve playing every instrument? If not, then I’m sure he’s in the studio acting as a maestro guiding this symphony of sound.Bravo Steve Pullara's Cool Beans Ensemble! Your creativity knows no bounds. Thank you for delivering an album for all generations to enjoy."
Cyndy Drue is also the former host, producer and DJ of Street Beat, WMMR-FM, Philadelphia, PA
JASON DIDNER of Jungle Gym Jams Family music:
…and now for something completely different!
I’ve mostly known Steve Pullara and his Cool Beans band for raucous rockabilly and lyrics that paint a Norman Rockwell-like picture of childhood, family and community life.
But here, we see a very different side of Steve’s musicality. We are fully immersed in wordless, classically-influenced soundscapes suggesting an underwater world that’s mostly tranquil and occasionally frenetic.Piano, flute, strings and classical guitar appear most often through this album as Steve and his ensemble use sounds to set the scenes and tell the stories.The album opens with “Frog Hop,” which sonically portrays cheerful leaps through our marine setting. The title track, “Aquarium Rhapsody” shimmers in a manner pleasantly reminiscent of Debussy’s Claire de Lune. “Flow” continues the graceful, peaceful nature of the watery world.Things get more unpredictable on “Avoiding the Hooks.” where sudden jolts of flute melody portray a fish cleverly navigating a dangerous environment. “Phillip’s Glass Tank,” “Pearl Divers” and “Pond Swirl” restore a sense of calm in the waters. Steve drives home the theme of the album with “Aquarium Rhapsody Reprise Bolero,” the only track driven by a drum – in this case a snare drum, propelling the ethereal melody.
Behind the Scenes