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Songbook Review: The Best of Jim Chappell
Jim Chappell
Cover image of the songbook The Best of Jim Chappell by Jim Chappell
The Best of Jim Chappell
Jim Chappell
2018 / Unspeakable Freedom Music
102 pages / 17 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Best of Jim Chappell songbook is the companion sheet music book for Jim Chappell’s 2017 solo piano album by the same name. Seventeen of the eighteen pieces from the album are included (“Miracle” is not), transcribed by Jim Chappell himself. Quite a few of the pieces have appeared in other songbooks over the years, but these are new transcriptions. They aren’t dramatically different from the older arrangements, but if you have the old books, these will not be exact duplications. All but two of the pieces were chosen from Chappell’s many albums released between 1985 and 2009, and “Sun Sprinkles” and “As We Walk Away” are new.

The printed books are spiral-bound and printed on a medium-weight bright white paper stock. The scores are roomy and easy to read, making the book a pleasure to play. Most of the pieces are at an upper-intermediate to early-advanced playing level. Most of the timing is pretty straight-forward and none of the key signatures are difficult. There are some reaches of more than an octave, but not too many. (Those chords can often be rolled or shortened and, in some cases, the difficult reach can be accomplished easily with the other hand.) Expression and dynamics are clearly marked, as is pedaling, and metronome settings are also indicated. If you are a pianist and love Jim Chappell’s music, you’re going to love this book! It is currently available exclusively from www.JimChappell.com.

The titles, the keys they are in and the number of pages are:

Tender Ritual - Key of E (4 sharps) - 8 pages
Magic Sleigh Ride - Key of F (1 flat) - 5 pages
Precious Memories - Key of G (1 sharp) - 5 1/2 pages
Little Dream - Key of D (2 sharps) - 6 1/2 pages
Rise - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ D (2 sharps - 7 1/2 pages
I Knew I’d Love You - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ Db (5 flats) - 5 pages
From My Heart - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 4 1/2 pages
Free Again - Key of G (1 sharp) - 7 pages
Heartsong - Key of Cm/ Eb (3 flats) - 4 pages
Mockingbird Days - Key of G (1 sharp) - 5 1/2 pages
Blue Racer - Key of E (4 sharps) - 7 1/2 pages
Coming Through - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 5 1/2 pages
Dusk - Key of Bm (2 sharps) - 4 pages
Sun Sprinkles - Key of E (4 sharps)/ F (1 flat) - 6 pages
A Job Well Done - Key of Eb (3 flats)// F (1 flat) - 4 1/2- pages
Gone - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 5 pages
As We Walk Away - Key of F (1 flat) - 4 1/2 pages
July 8, 2019
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