Pianist Imbesi Takes on a Bing Crosby Classic

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Cover of Windham Hill's 'I'll Be Home for Christmas'

Cover of Windham Hill's 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' hide caption

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When the record label Windham Hill was assembling its newest holiday compilation, a last-minute decision on the CD's cover image led to a change in song selection, and Giovanna Imbesi got an emergency call.

Giovanna Imbesi

Imbesi says she started thinking about her version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on a long drive from Northern California to L.A. Shereen Meraji, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Shereen Meraji, NPR

The composer and pianist got a tough assignment from the label: Come up with a version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," the song famously sung by Bing Crosby; and do it in five days. The result ended up as the CD's title track.

Music stores are chock full of compilations and covers of holiday standbys. How does an artist approach a song that's been so often — and expertly — performed? Imbesi talks with NPR's Alex Chadwick about how she handled the task. Chadwick visited her at her home studio in Santa Monica, where she performed on her vintage Steinway piano.

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Windham Hill Christmas: I'll Be Home for Christmas

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