Christmas Around the World

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Earlier this year I introduced Hal Leonard’s Jennifer Linn Series in my review of the excellent Easy Elementary collection Rendezvous At The Zoo.

Just in time for this year’s festivities, Christmas Around the World is a new addition to the series, this time suitable for Intermediate+ players, defined as:

“…advancing pianists who have progressed to the Piano Solo level and enjoy lush accompaniments and stylistic original compositions and arrangements.”

Whether adopted within the world of the Jennifer Linn Series or beyond it, this publication offers a very interesting and worthwhile addition to the seasonal music shelf of any player or teacher, so let’s investigate further…

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Jazz It Up! Christmas

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Piano players at early advanced level enthusiastic for a more jazzy take on evergreen Christmas favourites have never been better served, with several choices among my recent reviews to choose from.

Alongside these, they will likely lap up Eric Baumgartner’s brilliant Jazz It Up! Christmas, now in its second edition, and offering twelve ingenious solo arrangements in a variety of accessible grooves.


Twelve, you say? Well yes: the first edition of the book appeared in 2000 and included six pieces; that number doubled to twelve with the publication of the second edition in 2020, the subject of this mini review…

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Easy Christmas Piano Books

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The Christmas season is accompanied by a uniquely popular and significant body of music spanning multiple genres, and it’s no wonder that there are so many varied piano collections to choose from, whatever your level…

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Donald Thomson’s Winter Piano Music

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Scottish composer Donald Thomson is perhaps best known for his series of Celtic Piano Music collections for intermediate pianists, the omnibus edition of which I have reviewed here.

I have also been impressed with his enjoyable Halloween Piano Tunes collection for elementary players, which I reviewed here recently.

Now Thomson is back with Winter Piano Music, a new collection that is once again published by EVC Music. This time he has written for the more advanced player, delivering five compositions and arrangements which are surely destined to become seasonal concert favourites…

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Christmas Songs & Standards: Jazz Piano Solo

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Last Christmas, I brought you my review of the superb jazz piano collection Jazz Piano Solos: Christmas Classics, a stunner of a publication about which I concluded:

“This book is an easy recommendation to any advanced player who has ever fancied playing popular Christmas music in an enjoyable lounge jazz style. I think that’s a lot of people, spicily catered for here, so this deserves to be hugely popular!”

In that review I also noted that there were two previous titles in Hal Leonard’s consistently brilliant Jazz Piano Solos series awaiting copyright clearance for UK release, so it’s with seasonal cheer that I can confirm both those titles are now also available, and the subject of this review.

Again the work of the impressively prolific talent known as Brent Edstrom, it’s no surprise that they are both simply superb. Read on to find out more…

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Peaceful Jazz Piano Solos

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Reviewing Hal Leonard’s popular and keenly-priced Peaceful Piano Solos series last year, I concluded that,

“The Peaceful Piano Solo series is an easy recommendation, delivering a brilliant selection of contemporary favourites in a tastefully presented set of anthologies, with nicely playable editions. All the books are packed with hits from cover to cover, and there’s a book for everyone here.”

The series only becomes more compelling with the arrival of Peaceful Jazz Piano Solos, a collection of 30 standards arranged for early advanced players.

Let’s delve…

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Phillip Keveren’s Latest Hat Trick

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American composer and ace arranger Phillip Keveren has been a busy chap this year, and among several publications he has just brought us three new anthologies for more advanced players in the immensely popular Phillip Keveren Series from Hal Leonard.

For those not familiar with this series, it’s certainly worth catching up. Keveren has a gift for creating pianistically satisfying arrangements of music from chart hits to Christmas songs, from hymns to music hall classics and film themes.

Keveren also has an astute understanding of the pianist’s progress; the large and growing number of publications in his series include many titles aimed at the less advanced player, as well as titles such as the three latest reviewed here, which would be ideal for any advanced player (around UK Grades 6-8):


I have reviewed several titles in this series before, uniformly praising them for their musical and presentational quality. The three new additions to the series confidently measure up to the high standards previously set, and are an easy recommendation for those keen to discover superb piano arrangements of the titles included.

Here’s a simple introduction to the musical content of each…

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8 Great Duet Books 2022

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My review of 8 Great Piano Duet Books published back in 2016 has been a popular post with readers ever since, proving that there’s plenty of interest in piano duet books.

Since then I have reviewed a trickle of other duet books, but ground to a halt during the pandemic. Meanwhile, more duet books have been amassing in my review backlog, and in this new round up I’ve got my paws on another 8 Great Duet Books for 2022.

For ease, I will introduce them in approximate order of difficulty…

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Willis Music’s ‘Strange Sounds’

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With autumn well upon us, and a new school year firmly underway, many teachers and players will no doubt be looking for repertoire to enjoy as we approach Halloween.

Each year I am asked to recommend suitable music for the annual spook-fest, and for elementary to early intermediate players, around UK Grades 1-3, a recent compilation of “10 Bewitching Piano Solos” from The Willis Music Company could be just the ticket.

Intrigued? Let’s tiptoe through the gate and investigate the secrets within…

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Rendezvous at the Zoo

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Jennifer Linn is one of America’s most respected educational composers, authors and arrangers, with dozens of titles to her name. These include several collections of her own compositions, arrangements of music from popular shows, the Hal Leonard Piano for Teens method, and several award-winning classical editions in the Schirmer Performance library.

Many of Linn’s publications are best-sellers in the US, but most are less well-known here in the UK. Her latest publication is Rendezvous at the Zoo, and will certainly be of interest to anyone teaching children at early elementary level, regardless where in the world they are based… so let’s take a look!

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