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MP3 Bill Gabrys - The Holiday Tree

Emotionally charged & inspired after 9-11, this collection of keyboard centered jazz-inclined Christmas carols, offers nontraditional arrangements that emit the hope, sadness, and joy of the holiday season.

10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Smooth Jazz, EASY LISTENING: Mature

As September 11th changed our world, The Holiday Tree emerged.

"We Three Kings": The arrangement existed prior to 9/11. I just wanted a charging energy to go after the Taliban. Jay & Jocko (nice solo Jocko) helped create that energy.

"A Christmas Song": A pre 9/11 arrangement, waiting for its place in time.

"Silent Night" Cold weather staring out a window watching the gentle snow flakes fall... ... ... ...

"Away in a Manger/Hark the Herald Angels Sing" These songs help me sense the hope and joy that exist for our world. Someday we''ll all know how to get along.

"The Holiday Tree" This was a gift to me. A portion of the song had been around since 1977. It used to be "The Millston Motel", which never really had a committed melody. I asked the muse to take control, and it happened. Grace Lawson painted a wonderful picture of a tree in winter. I thank her deeply for allowing me to use it.

"Winter Wonderland/America the Beautiful" This is my tribute and thanks to those that serve our country in order to keep us free. I''ve never served but knew my father''s honorable nature graced the military. I always carry a salute in my heart when I hear "America the Beautiful".

"Jingle Bells" We''re all aware that the holiday season is different for everyone. This arrangement would be homage to the victims of 9/11.

"Good King Wenceslas" I pictured soldiers in Afghanistan, working through the darkness in search of the enemy. As the song drifts away from the holiday theme to rock on, we must give thanks and not forget the service of our hero''s.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/Carol of the Bells" Back into the holiday air. Still solemn yet hopeful that we''ll all smile again.

"The Little Drummer Boy" This arrangement came about by my creating a challenge from something I heard a gentleman say on National Public Radio in 2001. He''s convinced that he''s never heard an arrangement of "The Little Drummer Boy" that he liked. I''m not sure that you can ever remove "pa rum pum pum pum" from the song. Hope you like it! Props to Jay for his awesome chops through the whole tune. He be the Drummer Boy!

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Born in Chicago, Il. , I studied classical music at an early age through high school and played in a rock band called "Change of Color" in those rebellious teen years.

I gravitated towards Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. ''75-''76 (this was a great musical growth experience for me - thanks mom & dad for making that happen!). I later graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire with a B.A. Music - Business minor degree in 1980. I was a member of Eau Claire''s jazz ensemble and a member of a progressive jazz group called "Naked Men" (we actually had some girls in an audience that came to see naked men).

I followed a great talent to Minneapolis, MN...and actually slept on the couch at Jay Epstein''s house before I ever met him (Jay plays drums on "The Holiday Tree"). Then I got into audio sales and played in a jazz/rock band called "Rendezvous."

I was soon dragged away from the cold snow''s of MN to spend 3 years playing on cruise ships. This was a lot more fun than I had expected. I finally met and was in a group with Jay Epstein on the ships. Funny how that worked out.

Then in 1986 I came back to land and got into the money industry in Minneapolis. Now I had the day gig and played in 2 bands - "Voice Trek" which afforded me some international experiences, and a corporate gig band called "Room Service."

1993 - 1996/7 had me playing solo piano during the dinner hour at "Lord Fletcher''s on the Lake" ...great atmosphere, great food, & great people watching! I did more money stuff and little music except for the occasional Christmas gig for 5 years.

September 11th, 2001 happened, I became unemployed, took a trip to New York, and realized that I had the time and a new motivation to complete a long awaited musical project. Jay was around to play drums and a good friend of his, Jocko MacNelly played bass. "Thanks guy''s for such a super job with what I had to give you for guidance."

I hope you all enjoy and are moved through this musical experience.

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