The title says it all. Those two numbers are the crux of Christmas and the crux of pianist Kyle Pederson’s new holiday offering, which is as simple in its focus as the CD’s name.
Pederson presents his take on eleven seasonal tunes, many of them famous and some not so. Yet all are warm and welcoming as performed by Pederson, who plays the songs without accompaniment, and to great effect.
The artist masterfully accompanies himself with a virtuosic technique in which he plays melodies and chords with such ambidextrous deftness that it sounds like two or three pianists are playing at the same time. Because of this, the songs never fail to enrapture and captivate.
Another great aspect of the album is that while the songs are all recognizable as yuletide classics, Pederson injects enough creativity and uniqueness into his arrangements that they sound like original compositions.
As a result of this fresh approach that breathes new life into these classics while still retaining their familiarity, Kyle Pederson’s musical gift can be enjoyed not only on 12.25, but all year long.