- Collin Raye;Jim Brickman - The Gift
One of the few solo instrumentalists to have scored a Billboard hit, his mellow piano compositions straddle the line between pop and new age.
Though classically trained, pianist Jim Brickman prefers to play more pop-flavored, gently lyrical new age music. His unique compositions are emotional and structured, but not rigidly so.
Brickman enrolled in the Cleveland Institute of Music in his late teens. The focus was on classical music, but Brickman could not escape the lure of mainstream music, and at age 19 began writing commercial jingles.
This led him to compose music for such major outfits the Gap, Isuzu, Sprint, and Kellogg's as well as with Jim Henson and Henson Associates. During his association with Henson, he composed for the Muppets and for projects on Sesame Street.
He also assisted on some of Henson's Disney projects. Brickman recorded his debut album, No Words, on Windham Hill in 1994.
The following year he released By Heart on the same label, and in 1997 issued Picture This as well as The Gift, a collection of seasonal favorites. Visions of Love followed a year later, and in early 1999 Brickman returned with Destiny.
A classy live effort, My Romance: An Evening with Jim Brickman, appeared in 2000. Two years later, Brickman crafted a beautiful children's album called Love Songs and Lullabies.
Efforts such as Grace, Peace, and The Disney Songbook followed in the relaxing yet elegant vein of his earlier work. In 2006, Brickman left longtime label Windham Hill and released Escape on Savoy Jazz.
In 2007 Hope was released by Compass, followed by the holiday-themed Homecoming. Brickman continued recording for Savoy in 2008 with Unspoken, followed a whopping four albums and a DVD in 2009: Beautiful World was the audio component to a DVD performance of the album with special guests; From the Heart found him revisiting some of his best-known compositions backed by a 75-piece orchestra; and two new holiday-themed recordings were released in The Hymns & Carols of Christmas and Joy.
The ever industrious Brickman began 2010 by releasing a 2006 recording called Escape, cut during his Windham Hill period, but issued for the first time by Savoy. ~ Sandra Brennan.