The big work here is Astro Dogs (2019), 12 pieces based on the 12 signs of the zodiac. Each sign is also a variety of dog: Aquarius is a beagle, Libra a poodle, Cancer a Pekingese, etc. It’s an amusing juxtaposition of inspirations, and it keeps the music interesting. The composer has owned most of the dogs pictured. This composer is better than the others we have just reviewed.

The two other sets of short pieces— Madeleines (2016) and Impromptus (2014)— sound like Poulenc sometimes. In the first set I was quite taken with the `Promenade’ (at the zoo in Versailles—maybe this composer is often inspired by animals). But the impromptus bored me—doodling, as so often happens today in piano music. Composer John Carbon (born 1951) and the pianist (younger) are both from Chicago.

Stephanie Boyd, American Record Guide January 2021

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