Becky Archibald | The Christmas One

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Classical: Contemporary Jazz: Free Jazz Moods: Mood: Christmas
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The Christmas One

by Becky Archibald

Delightful, surprising, inspiring (and don't forget about fun) Christmas arrangements by award-winning composer/pianist Becky Archibald that range from jazzy to bluesy to hypnotic to passionate.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jingle Bells
1:06 $0.99
2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
1:56 $0.99
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
2:32 $0.99
4. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
2:22 $0.99
5. Silent Night
2:53 $0.99
6. Deck The Halls
2:22 $0.99
7. French Carol
2:13 $0.99
8. What Child Is This?
1:59 $0.99
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
1:17 $0.99
10. We Three Kings
2:21 $0.99
11. I Wonder As I Wander
2:44 $0.99
12. The Christmas Song
3:04 $0.99
13. Happy Holiday Rag
3:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Christmas One receives Recording of Exceptional Merit Award, WRST-FM, Wisconsin Public Radio!

"Without question Becky Archibald’s ‘The Christmas One’ tops this tree. Unlike most piano CDs I receive, hers won’t work as background music at all. Your attention will keep returning to the music as she takes one delightful new turn after another with familiar carols." Gerry Gryzb, (Dr. Christmas) host of WRST-FM.

Nominated, Best Traditional Holiday Song (Happy Holiday Rag) in the Just Plain Folks 2006 Album Awards

"Is it still possible to do a solo piano Christmas album that is truly different without being too "out there"? In Becky Archibald’s hands, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" . . . My favorite is "Happy Holiday Rag," which is a medley of "Happy Holiday," "Up On the Housetop," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." This joyous little piece all but dances out of the CD player, closing the CD with a great big grin and a hearty "ho ho ho. Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications.

"VERY FINE!! The recording quality, too, is the best. This is certainly one of the most fresh and unique Christmas CD's I have heard in a long time. I love your style ... it is so uniquely YOU!" Tom Knox, WPLN-Nashville

"A lyrical and melodic player, Ms. Archibald begins and closes with swinging renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "Happy Holiday Rag" and otherwise mostly performs more introspective but still quietly joyful selections. Among the songs that she gives beauty to are "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," "Silent Night," "Deck The Halls" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." The music is delightful and heartfelt, a perfect addition to anyone's Xmas Jazz collection." Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene

"Becky Archibald’s Yule offering adds some sparkling tinsel to this holiday season." Chuck Workman, NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis.

""The Christmas Song" is a gigantic gift untying itself to reveal the meanings you desire. And as in vaudeville, ‘Always leave ‘em laughing when you say good-bye.’ That’s the joy in ‘Happy Holiday Rag.’" Rita Kohn, NUVO.

About The Christmas One

“The Christmas One” took a few years to put together. In December of 1999, I wrote my first Christmas arrangement—a lively one-minute version of Jingle Bells. Each December after that I would write 2 or 3 more. It’s easier in December—the Christmas tree is up, it’s cold and (sometimes) snowy, and that’s when those beautiful old tunes are running through my head. Each time I laid my hands on the piano keys and meditated on the words of a song, I hoped that whatever came out of me would be true to the traditional text, but true to me too. I Wander As I Wander took on the exotic flavor of Bartok’s Pe Loc, with a variation of the theme that sounded much more “wandery.” Deck the Halls flits back and forth between stride piano, Vince Guaraldi, and something both lush and quiet. O Come, O Come Emmanuel has a blues flavor. The liner notes tell the story of how each of the 13 unique tracks were born.

The cover is a story in and of itself. I gave the photographer, Scott Schrecker, complete freedom for a concept. He said he had a vision of me in my pajamas inside a filthy old fireplace. This is my 4th CD, and I’ve worked with him on all of them, so I knew that his strange request could wind up being something worthwhile. He lives in Nashville, so I spent a whole day there, running from one beat up old house to another, looking for the right shot. Nothing was quite right (plus it was a very, very hot day in July) so he offered to come up to Indy if I could find something here. I looked for houses that were being renovated and came up with nothing, so I called my friend Molly who at least has a large fireplace, and took pictures of it. For more options, she took me to her neighbor’s house who had built an outdoor fireplace on his deck. It was very odd looking. Big, stony, full of sticks and soot. When I sent a picture of it to Scott, he said yes, that’s the one, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. I didn’t see the artistry or beauty in it, but he did.

The funny thing is, I still don’t know why. I don’t know what the cover means. My mom says it looks like I’m waiting for Santa. If you want to know why Scott asked me to climb inside a big dirty fireplace in my jammies, talk to him. And let me know what he says. (You can find him at )

--Becky Archibald



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

A Great Christmas Album!
Is it still possible to do a solo piano Christmas album that is truly different without being too “out there”? In Becky Archibald’s hands, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” I’m always a little self-conscious about driving around with my sunroof open and a Christmas CD blasting away in mid-July, but I don’t think anyone noticed I was playing Christmas music in the middle of a heat wave! The melodies are intact, but Archibald has given these familiar songs such a personalized treatment, that this is a CD you can actually listen to any time of year. Staunch traditionalists may be a little taken aback, but, for something a little different, this is a great choice. Archibald incorporates jazz chords and rhythms, but this isn’t really a jazz album. There are many influences going on, making this a difficult CD to categorize - a very good thing, I think!

The CD opens with a short, but completely delightful arrangement of “Jingle Bells.” This is definitely a jazz styling that goes “laughing all the way.” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is given a bluesy treatment that maintains the dark and haunting quality of the song and tells of hope in the midst of troubles. “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” scared Archibald as a child, and she wanted to incorporate some of that into the song. It begins with a very unusual prelude that is rhythmic and mysterious and melts into the actual song itself, which is begins rather traditionally with lots of sparkle and becomes more improvised - really an interesting and effective arrangement! “Silent Night” is kind of a quiet, meditative jazz waltz - very elegant and soothing. “French Carol (Il est ne, le divin Enfant)” takes on a theme and variations form, with each verse played in a different style. “What Child Is This?” keeps it simple and soulful, with the melody played in the bass clef and the treble providing a lovely series of running notes to enhance the beauty of the melody. “We Three Kings” is one of the more unusual arrangements, both classical and jazz in approach, with a fluid rhythm and some fascinating harmonic changes. Dark and mysterious, this is a great arrangement! I also really like “I Wonder As I Wander,” which was inspired by a cello/guitar arrangement of a Bartok piece. The melody is kept simple and straightforward with some very effective embellishments. My favorite is “Happy Holiday Rag,” which is a medley of “Happy Holiday,” “Up On the Housetop,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” This joyous little peace all but dances out of the CD player, closing the CD with a great big grin and a hearty “ho ho ho.”

I have been a fan of Becky Archibald’s original music for several years, and this Christmas CD is a wonderful reflection of her creativity and musical sensibility. Recommended!

Tanvi Patel

Unusual piano arrangements capture the other emotions associated with Christmas
Becky's unusual piano arrangements of the usual joyful classics, capture the other emotions associated with Christmas...melancholy, loneliness, yearning...that strike every one of us at least once in our lives. If you're feeling blue, Elvis isn't the only one to pull out this Christmas.