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CD/LP/Track Review

Mark Kramer: Jazz Greetings (2009)

By Published: November 18, 2009
Mark Kramer: Jazz Greetings It's easy to be jaded by the endless production of Christmas and New Year holiday recordings by jazz artists attempting to cash in on the shopping impulses of this time of year. It's also unfortunate that much of what is produced is simply spruced-up, dispensable noise.



Pianist Mark Kramer's "Jazz Greetings" is a rare exception. While Kramer does have a predilection towards popular themes, he is a fine jazz musician, and this album is a tasteful collection of traditional holiday songs where the emphasis is on jazz improvisation rather than holiday hype. Together with bassist Charles Fambrough

Charles Fambrough
Charles Fambrough
1950 - 2011
bass
and drummer Jim Miller
Jim Miller
Jim Miller
b.1954
drums
, along with special guest artists featured on a few tracks, Kramer artfully renders the tunes in a laidback, sensitive manner. Moreover, the recording quality is excellent.



The "déjà vu" aspect of this CD is that it is uncannily reminiscent of early, classic Bill Evans

Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
Village Vanguard trio recordings with Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
Scott LaFaro
1936 - 1961
bass
or Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
b.1944
bass
on bass and mostly Paul Motian
Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
on drums. Kramer is a devotee of the late, great Evans, and often works with Gomez. Fambrough and Miller, like Kramer, have Philadelphia roots and connections, and together they artfully recreate the impressionistic style of the Evans trios, with subtlety winning out over flashiness, and the kind of voicings, turns of phrases, and sonorities that made the Evans trios so absorbing and innovative.



This CD offers ideal listening for the peaceful interludes of the holiday season; an excellent choice for those who enjoy laidback and lyrical jazz music.


Track Listing: Greensleeves, Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Silent Night; I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas; We Three Kings; Deck the Halls; Walking in a Winter Wonderland; Christmas Time is Here; Hanukah Blessing- Hatikvah Medley; March of the Toys.

Personnel: Mark Kramer: piano; Charles Fambrough: bass; Jim Miller: drums; Omar Hill: percussion; Leslie Burns: flute.

Record Label: Dreambox Media

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream



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