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Tom Kubis Big Band: A Jazz Musician's Christmas

Jim Santella By

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One of this era's finest big band arrangers also leads his own orchestra in Southern California. Loaded with talent and blessed with superb charts, Tom Kubis's band has assembled for an hour of holiday cheer in a session that both meets traditional expectations and provides a fresh look at the holiday season.

Guests Pete Christlieb, Jack Sheldon and Carol Jolin each make a major impact. Their charming lyricism and creative spirits ride high. Kubis's arrangements, while adhering to the mainstream for their substance, contain welcome surprises. Rich Bullock takes the melody of "Jingle Bells" as his solo feature—on bass trombone. Christlieb and Kubis wage a tough tenor battle through a hip, up-tempo "We Three Kings." Mike Higgins weaves a pleasant acoustic guitar melody on a fast-paced arrangement of "Deck the Halls." Elsewhere, high-note trumpeters Wayne Bergeron and George Graham put goose bumps on your arms and the back of your neck. Carol Jolin joins the band for two lovely arrangements. Her scat chorus with saxophone section unison on "Winter Wonderland" swings with a Basie heart of gold. The program also features a trombone choir, a remarkable solo from trombonist Andy Martin, and several lovely open trumpet features from Andy's brother, Stan.

Jack Sheldon, a personal favorite, appears with his fluid horn and his unforgettable sense of humor. His trumpet work sounds as fresh as it ever has, and his hip vocal comedy remains filled with enchantment. Kubis organizes his big band programs with care. This is one that Santa will enjoy all year 'round.


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.

Title: A Jazz Musician's Christmas | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz

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