I hope you enjoy this fun album of Christmas standards! Nothing wrong with a little style and pizzazz in some of these holiday favorites!! Don't let my bio throw you off track…just because I have a classical background doesn’t mean I am stuffy and stiff when seated at the piano. Happy Holidays!
Here are some reviews of other albums by Chris:
Artist: Chris Nemec
Album: Simply Delicious
Review by Wildy Haskell
Chris Nemec has virtually done it all musically. Since making his professional debut at the age of 13, Nemec has performed with conductors such as Robert Shaw, Sir Neville Marriner, Andre Previn, and Charles Dutoit. He has won awards as a choir leader and has performed at Carnegie Hall on seven occasions. The University of Memphis graduate has furthered his studies at Westminster Choir College, Southern Methodist University and the University of Memphis. Nemec has arranged for Swedish saxophonist Anders Paulsson and was asked to score the documentary of NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia and its ill-fated entry on February 1, 2003. Nemec performs several one-man shows throughout the Southeast when not serving as the Director of Children’s & Youth Music Ministries at Midtown Memphis’ Lindenwood Christian Church or teaching organ, piano and voice at Lindenwood Studio. In his spare time Nemec has cut four albums of standards. The first of these, Simply Delicious, takes a look at seventeen great songs through the eyes of a piano man.
Simply Delicious starts out with Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind,” keeping the reverent reverie of the original intact while adding a dash of smarmy good humor. Nemec infuses the song with a vibrant energy that makes for a very enjoyable listen. George & Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” is played like a memory rather than in the moment, a sweet rendition that takes a step back toward what might have been the original intent of the Gershwins. “Manhattan” is sophisticated and buoyant all at once, having a playful energy that won’t quite let you forget its refined side. “Over The Rainbow” is given a solid read, although Nemec’s interpretation seems a bit reserved at times. Nemec explores three songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera on Simply Delicious. The first is “Think Of Me,” where he shows off tremendous phrasing as he captures the sweetness of the song with minimal embellishment.
“The Last Time I Felt Like This” (Johnny Mathis) is wonderfully crafted, with Nemec digging into the tune almost as if he’d written it himself. “The Sound Of Music” is predictable; well played but fails to stand out in any measurable fashion. Nemec gets a bit too cutesy on Bacharach and David’s “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” employing flashy piano trills that distract from a classic melody. Nemec steps back a bit on “Where Do I Begin (Theme from Love Story),” offering up a subtle rendition that allows Francis Lai’s melody to shine through. He then stays similarly in the background for Irving Berlin’s “Always.” Nemec’s best moment on the album comes in “It Was Almost Like A Song,” a cover of the Ronnie Milsap classic that overflows with emotion. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Music Of The Night” is nearly perfect, with Nemec capturing the grandeur of the original almost note for note. Then he offers up a sweet rendition of Meredith Wilson’s ”Till There Was You” before returning to Lloyd Webber one last time for “All I Ask Of You.” There must be something about Phantom Of The Opera that inspires Nemec, for each offering here from the show finds him raising the performance bar a little bit higher. Simply Delicious closes with a sweet and moving take on Rodgers & Hart’s “My Funny Valentine”.
Chris Nemec captures the zeitgeist of fine dinner music perfectly on Simply Delicious. Being an upscale piano man is an art all its own, calling for distinctive technical skill on the piano as well as a talent for interpreting songs in subtly interesting fashion. Most who make their living in this fashion occasionally forget to stay in the background and allow the songs to speak for themselves, and Nemec is no exception on occasion, but Simply Delicious is nevertheless eminently listenable. While Nemec might overstep once in a while, his ability to interpret melody and bring it to life in vibrant musical colors is notable. If you’re looking for great dinner music, or simply great music to relax with that won’t put you to sleep, you can’t go wrong with Chris Nemec’s Simply Delicious.
Review by Wildy Haskell
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Artist: Chris Nemec
Album Title: You Must Remember This… As Time Goes By
Review by Andrea Guy
Chris Nemec is a man who knows his way around music, and he’s worn many hats in the industry. In the past he’s sung backup for Barry Manilow, served as producer/conductor/music director of many concert series, industrial and casino shows, and been a composer and arranger in his own right. On You Must Remember This…As Time Goes By, he’s wearing the pianist hat, having crafted an album of classic songs performed in cocktail piano style. Having played weddings, parties, and other events since he was 14 years old, this is musical territory that Nemec is very familiar with,
The songs he chose for You Must Remember This are all old standards that any music lover will be familiar with, from George and Ira Gershwin’s “Someone To Watch Over Me” to Bart Howard’s “Fly Me To The Moon.” Nemec’s fingers seem to glide effortlessly over the keys, bringing these songs to life for young and old. There’s nothing fancy about the arrangements on this album, because these songs don’t need anything to make them stand out. They are timeless, and Nemec’s playing more than does justice to the melodies. The sixteen tracks on You Must Remember This are mostly love songs and ballads, though the lively “The Girl From Ipanema” is a spunky addition to the collection. It’s one of two faster-paced songs, the other being “You Go To My Head,” and they feel a bit like teasers, giving listeners a hint of a perkier melody amid an album that is almost all slow romantic ballads.
The album opens with, “As Time Goes By,” a song that has been covered countless times, as well as being featured in films and as the theme song for a British TV show of the same name. Any listener familiar with the song will be singing along, even while each track is just Chris and the piano. It may just prove how good of a piano player he is, or else it shows how wonderfully written these songs are, but most will probably agree that it is a combination of both that keeps listeners coming back for more. Chris’ piano playing has personality; it inspires the listener to really pay attention, and not just let the music slip into the background.
Songs like “Moon River” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” seem to encourage listeners to grab a partner and dance as slow and as close as possible. The songs are some of the most romantic ever written, but even without the lyrics the melodies speak of love. Nemec conveys romance with ease, especially on songs like “Somewhere My Love,” where melody inspires images of music boxes and dancing. The album comes full circle with “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which conveys the same bittersweet message as the title track, and Chris communicates the longing beautifully in his playing.
You Must Remember This…As Time Goes By is much more than dinner or relaxation music. It is an album that shows the beauty of these classic songs, and of the piano itself. Nemec allows his listeners to have a love affair with the music. Once this album has been played once it will be counted as a favorite, especially at times when the listener wants to feel a little romantic with their special someone.
If ever love could be conveyed by an instrument, Chris Nemec does it with the piano on You Must Remember This…As Time Goes By.
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
A new venture for Chris began in 2008 – a 75 minute show where Chris shares the stories behind (and plays!) the great standards – Misty, New York, New York, As Time Goes By, Summertime, and more. This show has been very well received in the Greater Memphis area. His shows have raised over $25,000 for MIFA, a local community service organization, Church Health Center, Memphis Child Advocacy and, upcoming, Habitat for Humanity.
Chris Nemec made his professional debut at age thirteen, and has appeared as organist, accompanist or tenor soloist with Opera Memphis, The Memphis Symphony and Chorus, University of Memphis Opera Theater, and others. He has sung seven seasons with the Carnegie Hall Choral Workshop, founded by the late Robert Shaw, under the baton of Maestro Shaw, Charles Dutoit, James Conlon, Robert Spano, Sir André Previn and Sir Neville Marriner. The most recent Carnegie Hall performance was February 2011 singing Berlioz' massive Requiem, which received great preview and review publicity in the New York Times and other international media.
Chris sang two performances in September 2002 in Salzburg, Austria, including at the Duomo. He has served as rehearsal accompanist under John Rutter, Sir David Willcocks, Helen Kemp, Constantina Tsolainou, Jim Litton, John Ness Beck and other notables, and has played extensively for the Diocese of Memphis for ordinations and workshops. In January 1996, Chris was the recipient of a two-week internship with The American Boychoir in Princeton, New Jersey where he assisted in preparing J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass with the New York Philharmonic and Maestro Kurt Masur.
As an organist, Chris performed at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign for the 1994 International Trumpet Guild; was the featured soloist by the Memphis chapter as the American Guild of Organists celebrated its centennial in April 1996, playing J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d as part of the "World’s Largest Organ Recital"; appeared on ABC-TV on Easter Sunday, 1996 sponsored by the National Council of Churches; and played at National City Christian Church (the Disciples of Christ’s national cathedral) in Washington D.C. in 1999 and 2000.
Chris has served as associate conductor-accompanist of The Gary Beard Chorale since its inception in August 1987, appearing in concerts at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Spoleto Festival (1992, 1994, 1997) and Europe (Vienna, Austria and Melk.) Additionally, since 1983 he has served as Organist-Music Administrator, Director of Children’s and Youth Music and Producer of Lindenwood Concerts. He teaches piano, organ and voice in the Lindenwood Studio of Music. He was the staff accompanist for the West Tennessee Metropolitan Opera Auditions for over 20 years.
Chris has performed for numerous industrial shows including Federal Express, ServiceMaster, Merry Maids, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, WONDERS: The International Cultural Series, and more.
Chris has orchestrated over 200 titles, usually for performance by the Gary Beard Chorale or The Lindenwood Chancel Choir. His first international orchestration was in 1988 for soprano saxophonist/composer Anders Paulsson of Sweden.
Chris’ 2003 calendar included performances in St. Louis, Houston, Tallahassee, Birmingham, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Columbus, MS, and or course the greater Memphis area. His 2004 calendar was as varied and full, including five performances at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, MS in October, as Music Director for "Clue -The Musical" murder mystery for the second year.
One of Chris’ love is playing cocktail-style piano, something he has done since age fourteen for wedding receptions, parties, Christmas events, church functions and more. In 2003, Chris began a three-part series of CD recordings: "Do You Remember? – The Piano Stylings of Chris Nemec" draws upon a pool of repertoire Chris has used countless times over the years. His 2nd CD, "The Very Best Time of Year" is music for the holidays, and his latest CD, "You Must Remember This - As Time Goes By", is Volume II of more great piano standards. The CD’s are available at area stores and can also be ordered from this web site.
An exciting new adventure for Chris began with a commission of a choral-symphonic work, with text from the Old Testament book of Joshua, to be used in a documentary about NASA's Shuttle Columbia STS-107. The world premiere of the documentary, titled Of Good Courage, will be September 23, 2006 in South Padre Island, TX as part of the South Padre Island Film Festival. On February 1, 2003, as Columbia was re-entering the earth's atmosphere, it exploded over Sabine County, Texas, a rural community on the Texas-Louisiana border. The documentary will tell the stories of the local residents and their recovery of debris and bodies of the seven astronauts. These heroic citizens refused to accept compensation for any of their services (rather feeling this was their duty) including housing hundreds of searchers from neighboring counties, to feeding over three thousand hot meals daily to the recovery personnel. Click on the link "Be Strong" above to read more of this incredible story, listen to the commissioned music, and find out more information about renting the entire work (for symphony, chorus and narrator) for performance.
The completed documentary, Of Good Courage, had its world premiere at the South Padre Island Film Festival on September 23, 2006, where it took the SPIFFY Impact Award at the Festival; this award is given to the film that garnered "the most positive audience emotional response," according to festival organizers. Additionally, the film won Best Feature Documentary at the 2007 Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan, OK.
Other recent distinctions for Chris has been the inclusion in the 2007 listing of “Who’s Who in America”, the upcoming premiere of several choral compositions, and his teaching of “The Artist’s Way” class in October, 2007 for 12 weeks.
Additionally, Chris was one of five national award winners for the Chorister’s Guild Choir Leadership Certification Program sponsored by Chorister’s Guild and funded by the Lily Foundation and a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Raids, Michigan. Two sessions of four-day classes are offered as part of this distinction, in Grand Rapids, MI in November 2006, and in Louisville, KY in August 2007. Chris is now on the faculty of the Chorister's Guild Institute, which certifies candidates over a three-summer curriculum in the field of conducting children's and youth choirs.
In January 2012, Chris was awarded a Conducting Fellow in New York City through Chorus America. The week-long intensive Master Class focused on Choral-Orchestral Repertoire and was awarded to recipients through a rigorous video/audio audition and written application.
Two national publications have recently featured Chris in articles:
Do You Remember?
* * *
On his cocktail-jazz CD "Do You Remember?," pianist Chris Nemec offers gentle, sweetly played stylings of many a standard and classic, from Misty and I Left My Heart in San Francisco to Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine and Summertime (which is so haunting a tune, it works in just about any setting). Nemec brings his own graceful personality to the proceedings as well as an unexpected adaptation or two, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's Memory from Cats and Did I Remember? from the 1936 Jean Harlow/Cary Grant film Suzy. If you're in the mood, Nemec has quite the svelte touch. He holds a CD release party from 6-8p.m. Thursday at Amro Music Recital Hall, 2918 Poplar Ave.
- Bill Ellis
The Commercial Appeal
As we were working at our computer, we picked up a CD and loaded in the player.
The CD was one by local Memphian and professional musician Chris Nemec, entitled "Do You Remember?" The first thing to come to our mind was a dinner party and this music playing in the background – beautiful, soft, relaxing piano accompaniment to an enjoyable evening. And even though we weren’t at a dinner party but working at our computer, we kept on listening all the way through because it was so soothing and good, very good.
Whether you are entertaining friends or just want to set a romantic mood, this is the CD to do it with.
-Anita Moyt, managing editor
Family and Friends