Alternating tracks (the B3 Kings take the odd ones and the Bruno Hubert Trio takes the even ones), this Christmas album gets a jump start on the holiday season. They're familiar songs, but they come to us with fresh sounds. Denzal Sinclaire sits in with each ensemble as a singer, too, interpreting "Little Drummer Boy and "We Three Kings.
Each familiar holiday favorite is interpreted in a straightforward manner; however, jazz is always jazz. There's improvisation in each selection. The organ combo features alto saxophonist Cory Weeds, guitarist Bill Coon and organist Chris Gestrin with plenty of improvised action and swing. They bring each favorite into our holiday circle with flair.
The piano trio prefers to stick with each melody, defining its familiar theme clearly before launching into a straight-ahead attack on each theme. It's always a pleasure to follow themes such as "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus through improvised piano and acoustic bass solo sections that lead to a wholesome return.
The organ combo gives this session a fresh outlook that results in frequent unexpected twists and turns. Their spontaneity brings a different kind of joy to the holiday season than that with which we usually accept its annual challenges.
We Three Kings and "Dance of the Sugar Plums, for example, come with the kind of built-in improvised fire that reminds us of the special nature of this season. It's not about putting melodies on the back burner so that they can effervesce coolly while we carry on our yearly tradition with care. Sure, there's plenty of that to go around. We do need our tradition. This season should also include adventure and room for the joy of finding a positive glow in change. A Cellar Live Christmas takes us one step in that direction. It's up to us now to reach out and realize as much of that positive change as we can.
Jingle Bells; Little Drummer Boy; O Little Town of Bethlehem; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Away in a Manger; I Saw Three Ships; We Three Kings; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Dance of the Sugar Plums; I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
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