David Alstead | I Heard The Bells

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Jazz: Piano Jazz Holiday: Classical Moods: Mood: Christmas
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I Heard The Bells

by David Alstead

Solo piano Christmas tunes done up in ways you might not expect.
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Ash Grove
3:02 $0.99
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2. I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day
4:27 $0.99
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3. We Three Kings
3:15 $0.99
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4. Deck the Halls
2:11 $0.99
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5. Oh Come, Oh Come, Immanuel
2:45 $0.99
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6. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
2:50 $0.99
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7. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing/he Is Born
2:34 $0.99
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8. While By My Sheep
2:08 $0.99
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9. Noel Nouvelet
2:02 $0.99
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10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
2:18 $0.99
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11. Good King Wenceslas
1:57 $0.99
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12. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella
3:15 $0.99
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13. Angels We Have Heard On High
2:47 $0.99
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14. March of the Three Kings
2:51 $0.99
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15. Go Tell It On the Mountain
2:37 $0.99
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16. Silent Night
3:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This is Dave’s third solo piano CD. Unlike his first two, “Piano For Both Ears” and “Pieces Of Piano” which were original music, “I Heard The Bells” has Dave taking traditional Christmas music and running it through his trademark musical convolutions creating these new and different arrangements for your Christmas listening pleasure. From the inherent jazz influences of “Deck The Halls” through the classical nature of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “He Is Born” to the beautiful “Silent Night”. This is sure to be a favorite in your Christmas collection.

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

Sure to Brighten Your Holidays!
David Alstead’s “I Heard The Bells” is the perfect antidote for those who get tired of hearing Christmas carols played the same old way year after year. Energetic and jazz-infused Alstead’s solo piano arrangements and performances are likely to be different than any you have heard before. Many of the songs are some of the oldest in the Christmas repertoire, but Alstead’s fresh interpretations bring them right into the 21st century. I do need to point out that many of the Christmas CDs I’ve reviewed are very quiet and meditative - this one is not! There are a couple of gentle tracks, but most are upfront and ready to roll - good time music full of joy and fun. This is tree-decorating, party, and energizing music. Alstead’s complex harmonies and sometimes slippery rhythms keep the pieces musically interesting play after play and just might extend their time in your CD player past Christmas’ arrival and departure.

“I Heard The Bells” begins with “The Ash Grove,” a Welsh folk song from the early 1800’s. Although not as well known as many of the other traditional carols, it sets the festive tone of the album. The first verse of the title track is slow and slightly downbeat, but then Alstead picks up the tempo and mood to something Snoopy would love to dance to in a Peanuts Christmas special! If this one doesn’t make you smile, you’re just not in the holiday spirit yet!
“Deck the Halls” doesn’t sound like a song Mozart might have written, but I think he might have liked this version. Buoyant and bouncing with joy, those halls will get decorated in a jiffy at this rate! “O Come O Come Immanuel” slows it down, but this is not a conventional arrangement either. Interesting chord changes and a somewhat faster tempo than usual make this very early song sound new. Mendelssohn stipulated that any lyrics that went with his melody for “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” had to be joyful, and this version certainly fits that bill - even though there aren’t any lyrics! Combined with “He Is Born,” this piece will dance right out of your CD player! “Noel Nouvelet” is a beautiful and then somewhat bluesy interpretation of this French carol - one of my favorite tracks! It’s amazing how many different treatments “We Three Kings” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” can take, and Alstead’s arrangements of both are excellent. The lovely, simple melody of “Bring A Torch, Jeannette Isabella” makes it one of my favorite carols to teach. This is one of the quieter tracks on the CD, but I really love Alstead’s interpretation - gentle yet urgent. “March of the Three Kings” is another traditional French carol, but this is a jazzy fun-loving arrangement. Those are three cool kings! “Silent Night” is the final of the sixteen tracks, and it’s gorgeous - peaceful and contented with a slight edge here and there.

For a Christmas album that is truly different, this is a solid choice! Sure to brighten your holidays!
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