Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical, Latin Music
As a general rule, Christmas albums aren't the first place one looks for innovation. This record, released in 1981, may be the exception to that rule. Here's a wide-ranging, creative, and fun-to- listen-to compilation pack... more »
As a general rule, Christmas albums aren't the first place one looks for innovation. This record, released in 1981, may be the exception to that rule. Here's a wide-ranging, creative, and fun-to- listen-to compilation packed with interesting takes on the time-worn holiday chestnuts. Dig Wynton Marsalis's Quintet going off the map on "We Three Kings of Orient Are." Alto saxist Paquito D'Rivera and bassist John Miller turn in a remarkable duet version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" while McCoy Tyner's solo version of "I'll be Home for Christmas" is simply beautiful. Consider Dexter Gordon's take on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" an early gift. --S. Duda
Surprisingly serious Jazz in a Christmas mode
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Buying Christmas albums is always a crap shoot, and if you like jazz, as I do, it's doubly perilous. I bought this album back in the '80s when it was first issued on vinyl, and I'm amazed that I still play it around the holidays after all these years. The main thing is that these renditions aren't treacly or contrived or sentimental -- as you might guess from the artists involved, they're serious, entertaining, sometimes funky takes on familiar standards ... something jazz has always handled well. (I'll never forget the first time I heard a jazz rendition of the Flintstones' TV theme song, but that's another story.) My hands-down favorite is Paquito D'Rivera and John Miller's duet of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". It's as spare as any jazz composition I've ever heard (and not especially long, either) but also one of the most unexpectedly moving and soulful. While it departs from the original music for some typical jazz improvisation, with Miller rumbling through a brief opening solo that betrays nothing at all of the "Gentlemen" to come, the full performance manages somehow to respect the solemn melody -- even the asceticism -- of the English carol. Which is quite an achievement, in its own weird little way."