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Peace

Jim Brickman

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Album Review

For his second holiday outing, pianist Jim Brickman follows the same formula that made 1997's The Gift such a success — a selection of seasonal favorites combined with new compositions pleasantly performed by Brickman with a few guest vocalists added to break the instrumental mood. Like its predecessor, Peace utilizes the formula well, and the final product can add a lovely musical ambience to quiet holiday evenings. Although the songs with orchestrations or featured vocalists are done quiet well, Brickman sounds his best when working solo as on his own composition, the lovely "Early Snowfall," or with the romantic warmth of "O Holy Night." For the most part, the orchestrations take a back seat to Brickman's piano, and that works well for songs like "We Three Kings" or the unique ballad version of "Jingle Bells," in which he reinvents the song with a reflective tone that is less celebratory yet still full of the holiday spirit. Guest vocalists lend their pipes to Brickman's Christmas vision as the Blind Boys of Alabama, Anne Cochran, and Collin Raye (who also performed on The Gift) break up the instrumentals without intruding on the disc's candlelight atmosphere. The best of the vocal tracks comes from CCM artist Kristy Starling, whose lovely voice enhances "Sending You a Little Christmas," a new song co-written by Brickman. With its adult contemporary pop feel, this song could easily find its way onto the radio for many seasons to come. While Peace is not a must-have in the Brickman catalog, it accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to add a little romantic joy to the holiday season.

Biography

Born: 20 November 1961 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Though classically trained, pianist Jim Brickman prefers to play more pop-flavored, gently lyrical new age music. His unique compositions are emotional and structured, but not rigidly so. Brickman enrolled in the Cleveland Institute of Music in his late teens. The focus was on classical music, but Brickman could not escape the lure of mainstream music, and at age 19 began writing commercial jingles. This led him to compose music for such major outfits the Gap, Isuzu, Sprint, and Kellogg's as well...
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Peace, Jim Brickman
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