The Tom Kubis Big Band: A Jazz Musician's Christmas (2002)
A Jazz Musician’s Christmas is a reissue on Sea Breeze of (much of) two earlier albums by the Tom Kubis Big Band, It’s Not Just for Christmas Anymore! and You Just Can’t Have Enough Christmas. Those who may have overlooked one or both of them are sure to appreciate the reissue, which is guaranteed to put anyone this side of Ebenezer Scrooge in a festive holiday mood. Not only is the band world–class (the sidemen are among the West Coast’s best and busiest musicians), there are delightful turns by trumpeter / vocalist / humorist Jack Sheldon on the title tune and “The Twelve Days of Christmas (My Agent Gave to Me)." The other vocals (“Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland”) are ably handled by Carol Jolin (Mrs. K) who co–wrote “A Jazz Musician’s Christmas” with Tom. The versatile Kubis, who arranged everything, solos on soprano sax (“Joy to the World,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Holy Night,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas”), piano (“Oh Christmas Tree,” “Silent Night”) and tenor sax (“We Three Kings”). Other featured soloists are trumpeter Stan Martin (“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” a medley of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”), guitarist Mike Higgins (“Deck the Halls”), bass trombonist Rich Bullock (“Jingle Bells”) and trumpeter Wayne Bergeron (“Auld Lang Syne”). The ’bone section (Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Alex Iles) shine like the moon on new–fallen snow on “God Rest Ye Merry Trombones“ and there are impressive statements elsewhere by trumpeters Sheldon, George Graham and Jeff Bunnell, bassist Trey Henry and guest tenor Pete Christlieb (“We Three Kings”). Easily recommended to anyone who doesn’t have either of the earlier albums in his / her big–band library.
Track Listing: Joy to the World; A Jazz Musician?s Christmas; Away in a Manger; O Holy Night; Let It Snow; God Rest Ye Merry Trombones; Hark the Herald Angels Sing; Oh Christmas Tree; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; Deck the Halls; The Twelve Days of Christmas (my agent gave to me); Jingle Bells; O Come All Ye Faithful / O Little Town of Bethlehem; We Three Kings; Silent Night; Winter Wonderland; Auld Lang Syne (62:58).
Personnel: Tracks 1, 3, 4, 8?13 ? Tom Kubis, leader, soprano sax; Wayne Bergeron, George Graham, Jeff Bunnell, Stan Martin, Gary Halopoff, trumpet; Andy Martin, Alex Iles, Charlie Morillas, Rich Bullock, Chuck Hughes, trombone; Sal Lozano, Mike Whitman, alto sax; Bill Liston, Rusty Higgins, tenor sax; Jay Mason, baritone sax; Jack Reidling, piano; Mike Higgins, guitar; Trey Henry, bass; Steve Araujo (13), electric bass; Ray Brinker, drums; Kurt Rasmussen, percussion; Carol Jolin, Jack Sheldon, vocals. Tracks 2, 5?7, 14?17 ? Graham, Bergeron, Martin, Bunnell, trumpet; Martin, Iles, Morillas, Bullock, trombone; Lozano, Mason, alto sax; Whitman, Jeff Driskell, tenor sax; Brian Williams, baritone sax; Reidling, piano; Higgins, guitar; Henry, bass; Brinker, drums; Rasmussen, percussion; Jolin, Sheldon, vocals. Also performing ? Halopoff, Darrel Gardner, Christian Beck, trumpet; John Leys, Bob McChesney, trombone; Higgins, alto sax; Dick Weller (2), drums. Special guest ? Pete Christlieb (14), tenor sax.