Tom Howard - Piano Christmas: Fifteen Classic Piano Carols
STYLE: Ambient/Meditational RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 82801-15930 LABEL: Kingsway Music KMCD3077 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2009-10-09 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Stephen Luff
Tom Howard is of course a near legendry figure in the evolution of Christian music, once recording with Jesus Music pioneer Larry Norman before going on to make a good living composing music for films and recording a slew of instrumental albums. He is also one of the finest contemporary pianists around. As you approach the end of the year, one thing that appears to be guaranteed is you will be exposed to numerous Christmas releases designed to enhance the season -some valid, some not so valid. So it's refreshing to listen to a disc that is beautiful in its simplicity, and offers a slightly more thoughtful approach to the carols we are all so familiar with. Present here are the popular "The First Noel", "Silent Night" and "Joy To The World" along with those not so often heard such as "Bring A Torch" and "Lo How A Rose", all played expertly by Tom and thankfully without strings or other orchestral backing which would destroy what this disc does best, focusing the mind on the simple message of Christmas. Ideal listening late at night or possibly when reading the Christmas story.
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It’s the sort of album that makes you wish you could play this way. One piano, fifteen songs yet a whole world of possibilities, tones and textures.
Tom Howard, the renowned Nashville-based pianist, composer and arranger unlocks the secrets and upgrades the impact of timeless classics like ‘Silent Night’, ‘Joy To The World’, ‘Carol Of The Bells’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. Every track emerges refreshed and re-inspired.
Using classic film-score piano, jazz and whatever else comes to mind, Piano Christmas becomes far more than the standard Christmas album. This is an album that goes deep into the meaning and the mystery of Christmas while at the same time keeping accessibility high up in the mix.