How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Trumpeter Bobby Medina and the Cosmopolitan Pops Orchestra serve up more than fifty minutes of cheerful Holiday Magic, spiced with clever arrangements and bright vocals by Greta Matassa (“Winter Wonderland,” “Merry Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) and Gary Lanz (“The Christmas Song”). The music is Jazzy to a point, but more akin to the Boston or Cincinnati Pops than to Basie or Herman. The Latin opener, “Feliz Navidad,” is followed by a winsome reading of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Swing)” that blends aspects of “The Little Drummer Boy” with Dixieland Jazz to produce a pleasing potpourri of appetizing punch. Equally charming are the shrewd placement of the theme from Mission: Impossible in Medina / Darren Motamedy’s arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” the lovely violin and string passages in “Greensleeves” (arranged by Bob Hammer), wailing solos by Medina (muted) and pianist Jon Hansen on “Merry Christmas” and the funky backbeat of “O Come Emmanuel.” “My wish,” Medina writes in the liner notes, “is to add some variety into the music of the season and to help make your holidays extra special for years to come.” The variety is readily apparent, so Medina has accomplished his purpose. The rest is up to you.
Track Listing: Feliz Navidad; Hark! The Herald Angels Swing; Winter Wonderland; El Noi
de las Mare (The Son of Mary); Sleigh Ride; The Christmas Song; God
Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Silver Bells / Greensleeves; Merry Christmas;
O Come Emmanuel; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (51:08).
Personnel: Bobby Medina, trumpet, flugelhorn; Barney Blough, conductor, French
horn; Darren Motamedy, Mike West, sax, clarinet, flute; Patrick McDaniel,
trombone; Jon Hansen, piano; Chad Quist, guitar; Patrick McDaniel, bass;
Greg Williamson, drums; Beth Lenz, percussion; Arturo Rodriguez, Latin
percussion; William Boyd, Karen Sorensen, Margaret Olson, violin; Mike
Watson, viola; Mike Matesky, cello; Greta Matassa, Gary Lanz, vocals.