Jim Hudak | Embracing Winter

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Pop: Piano Holiday: Easy Listening Moods: Instrumental
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Embracing Winter

by Jim Hudak

Piano instrumental music taken to a new level, with numerous accompanying instruments on several of the tracks. The last song, "Remember The Child," includes vocals.
Genre: Pop: Piano
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Winter Wonderland
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2:21 $0.99
2. Sleigh Ride
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2:16 $0.99
3. Wait for December
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2:35 $0.99
4. Baby What You Goin' to Be?
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2:37 $0.99
5. Silver Bells
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3:07 $0.99
6. Winter Waltz / Acres of Clams
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2:27 $0.99
7. Let's Trim the Christmas Tree
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2:10 $0.99
8. The Chipmunk Song
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1:52 $0.99
9. Silent Night
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2:23 $0.99
10. Do You Hear What I Hear?
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3:25 $0.99
11. I Wonder As I Wander
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4:23 $0.99
12. Under the Christmas Mistletoe
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2:29 $0.99
13. The First Noel
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1:41 $0.99
14. Remember the Child
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2:34 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
With his first new album in over six years, Jim Hudak takes his piano playing and musicianship to a new level. "Embracing Winter" captures both Christmas and the winter season in ways rarely seen on traditional "Christmas albums."

Playing piano on every track, Jim also provides guitar, synth, and rhythm, and even sings on the final track, a lovely original titled "Remember The Child." As usual, he brings in guest artists who add bass, percussion, harmonica, and trumpet to several of the tracks. There's just enough familiar Christmas music on this album to keep it cozy, but the more obscure songs, mixed with several of his own original compositions, are what make this record both interesting and compelling.

Embracing Winter has great pacing and flow. The music goes from uptempo to reflective and back again in seamless
fashion. Favorite tracks include "Sleigh Ride," "Wait For December," "The Chipmunk Song," and "I Wonder As I Wander." The aforementioned "Remember The Child" has already been added to playlists on numerous radio stations around the world.

Give Embracing Winter a try. You won't be disappointed.


Reviews


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REVIEWS NEW AGE

Una mirada agradable y alegre de la Navidad
Los teclados y guitarras del compositor y músico Jim Hudak se acondicionan a las fiestas de Navidad. Embrancing Winter es el cuarto trabajo de Hudak, en el que se combinan composiciones originales adaptadas a estas fechas, junto a villancicos muy conocidos. En este último trabajo, Jim acompaña sus teclados con otros instrumentos y músicos, así como: la harmónica de Will Scarlett, las campanillas de Jon Lesher, el bajo de Dennis Tuohino, la percusión de Bob Insalaco, la trompeta de Frank Dorritie y las voces de Mary Mac Propersi.

Con ritmo y júbilo comienza el álbum, “Winter Wonderland”. Esta pieza es simplemente un enérgico y que con gracia va entonando el villancico. Técnicamente divertida y atractiva, “Winter Wonderland” es un derrocha de optimismo y felicidad.

Siguiendo el estado jovial del track anterior, hace su aparición “Sleigh Ride”. Nuevamente el teclado entona la melodía alegre, pero son unas campanillas la que van marcando el sutil compás. Un sentimiento muy navideño para esta pieza.

Una variación inesperada es “Wait For December”, donde Jim muestra su pericia con la guitarra fingerstyle, instrumento que no esconde secretos para él. Aunque el track está compuesto para piano y guitarra, cabe decir que es la guitarra la que capta la atención por su brillo y energía.

Cambiando el tono, Hudak nos invita a la reflexión, a la calma. Las notas de “Baby What You Goin’ To Be” son dulces, afectivas. De compás entrecortado y pesada fluidez, Jim le ofrece un gran sentimiento de cariño al piano.

Una de las más conocidas melodías en Navidad tiene su lugar en Embrancing Winter. “Silver Bells” está escrita para piano solo en este trabajo, siendo un golpe de aire fresco y ternura en el álbum. Sin variar en exceso la melodía original, Hudak realiza una hermosa interpretación.

Un medley de fuerte acercamiento al folk/country americano es el formado por “Winter Waltz/Acres Of Clams”. Algo más de dos minutos de ritmo y alegría, donde piano, guitarras y campanillas entonan las melodías de una música que invita al baile. Es difícil no marcar el tempo con los pies mientras disfrutamos de su escucha.

“Let’s Trim The Christmas Tree” es rápida, la primera composición que incluye percusión. Una pieza que está llena de ritmo y buenas vibraciones.

Interesante “The Chipmunk Song”. Como un ligero Waltz, Hudak va dando forma en el piano a una música que une ternura y gracia. Una delicia escuchar sus notas y disfrutar con el sentimiento que estas transmiten.

Como es habitual, en un álbum navideño no puede faltar la adaptación del famosísimo himno navideño “Silent Night”. En versión solo piano, Jim interpreta la popular melodía.

Aparece algo que llamará su atención, la harmónica de Will Scarlett en “Do You Hear What I Hear”. Una versión para piano y harmónica que toma un sentimiento diferente en una melodía extremadamente variada. La harmónica de Scarlett es la autentica protagonista en este track, que junto al piano de Jim, van dando forma a la nueva melodía.

Una de mis preferidas es “I Wonder As I Wander”. El piano en esta pieza traspasa toda su emoción al oyente en una melodía contundente pero apenada y con un toque de nostalgia.

“Under the Christmas Mistletoe” es movida y positiva, una introducción para “The First Noel”. “The First Noel” es tan emotiva, tan dulce… En esta ocasión, el piano de Hudak se une a un órgano, lo que le añade un tono muy religioso al famoso villancico.

El último track del álbum es “Remember the Child”, donde además del piano, Jim canta junto a Mary Mac Propersy. Piano, voces y trompeta son los encargados de dar vida a esta composición que se aleja del new age y se acerca más un pop más romántico.


Embrancing Winter es una mirada agradable y alegre de la Navidad, una música que irradia positivismo en una de las fechas más emotivas de todo el año. La música que encontramos en este CD es, en su mayoría, jubilosa y brillante, muy recomendada para estas fiestas.

reviewsnewage.com
11/12/12

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Embracing Winter" is pianist/composer Jim Hudak’s sixth album to date and is a collection of fourteen traditional and original songs that celebrate the winter season as well as the winter holidays. All of the tracks are piano instrumentals except for the last one, which features vocals by Hudak and Mary Mac Propersi. A musician who performs an average of two hundred gigs a year, Hudak’s music contains elements of pop, classical, jazz, and country styles blended with his own unique musical vision. A music industry professional for many years, Hudak’s name actually means “the musician” in Slovakian.

"Embracing Winter" begins with a lively piano solo of “Winter Wonderland” that sets the celebratory mood of the album. Continuing in this joyous mode, “Sleigh Ride” includes the sound of sleigh bells behind the upbeat solo piano arrangement. “Wait For December” is the first of the Hudak compositions, and this one features him on both guitar and piano. Light and optimistic, it’s a lovely addition to the holiday repertoire. “Baby What You Goin’ To Be?” is a lovely ballad that I had not heard before. This piano solo version is sweet and from the heart. “Winter Waltz/Acres of Clams” was a puzzle to me, but it turns out to be an old folk song that originated in Washington State. This arrangement features piano, guitar, and fiddle, harkening back to simpler times. “Let’s Trim the Christmas Tree” is another Hudak original. Carefree and effervescent, it features piano, light percussion, and bass - and a touch of fun! When thinking of novelty Christmas carols, one of the first to come to mind has to be “The Chipmunk Song,” and this solo piano arrangement is wistful and cute even without Alvin and the boys. My favorite track is “I Wonder As I Wander,” an Appalachian carol written by John Jacob Niles. Hudak’s solo arrangement emphasizes the solitude of the wanderer and truly comes from the heart. Three of the more traditional carols that are included in this collection are “Silver Bells,” “Silent Night,” and “The First Noel.” The closing song is “Remember The Child” and was written by Hudak and his long-time song-writing partner Dan Erikson. Full of tenderness and longing, it’s a plea to “let love lead the world to peace.” Hudak’s vocals are strong and full of emotion, making this a great conclusion to the album.

"Embracing Winter" will be a lively and joyous addition to your winter music collection for many years to come. Check it out!

Michael Diamond

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus
As a recording artist, Jim has released six CD’s of piano based instrumental music on his Brainstorm Records label. His recent album, “Bridging Textures” was produced by Will Ackerman, Grammy-winning founder of Windham Hill Records. Also on the recording are a number of Will’s top-flight studio musicians such as bassist Michael Manring, among others. Jim’s latest release is “Embracing Winter.” In his words: “It is a ‘winter season’ collection of 14 songs, featuring piano-based instrumental music. While there are indeed some traditional and contemporary Christmas songs, there are also several more obscure songs for the season along with a few of what we feel are exceptionally strong original songs.” However, the album is perfect for celebrating the spirit of this special time of year with standards such as “Silver Bells,” “Silent Night,” The First Noel,” and more.


The festivities get off to a lively start on track 1 with the classic “Winter Wonderland.” Jim’s rendition is bouncy and upbeat and doesn’t stray from the arrangement that people know and love. The vibrant energy continues on the second track, “Sleigh Ride.” After listening to one or two songs, it quickly became clear to me that Jim is an accomplished pianist exhibiting both technique and feel. The third track is an original tune entitled “Wait For December.” This song offered a nice change-up opening with some fine fingerstyle acoustic guitar, highlighting another of Jim’s instrumental talents. I particularly enjoyed the intricate interplay of guitar and piano as the song evolved.

One of my favorite songs on the CD was a jazzy original called “Let’s Trim The Christmas Tree.” With bass and percussion it conveyed more of an ensemble feel. A unique touch on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was the harmonica accompaniment that added a bit of a bluesy vibe to this traditional tune. A lesser-known Christmas carol is “I Wonder As I Wander.” The song’s haunting melody exudes a wistful air in contrast to some of the album’s more festive songs, such as “Under The Christmas Mistletoe” which follows it. Jim has saved a surprise for the last song on the album, an original called “Remember The Child.” Out of the six albums he has recorded, this is the first time he has featured his fine singing voice. Female vocals add not only background, but also harmony in places. A tasteful trumpet solo leads the song and the album to a graceful conclusion. As Jim points out, some of the tracks are also suitable for airplay beyond the Christmas season.
To read a full-length feature article on this CD, as well as other, please visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com