The classic sounds of Christmas music are always a joy, and this season they are reinvigorated with the new release by jazz pianist Rick Gallagher. A talented musician, Gallagher received deserved acclaim and airplay for his debut recording Sweet Potato Eyebrows, which featured his own compositions as well as classics. With an approach in the Ellingtonian vein, he combines a fresh sound with a modern focus on swing and style.
A Sleigh, a Song, & a Baby Boy celebrates some of the many holiday favorites with his own vision. Gallagher's talented core of musicians return from his debut recording. The deep and full sound of bassist Paul Thompson continues to shine as he also gives strong solos on selections such as "Sing We Now Of Christmas" and "The Little Drummer Boy." Drummer George Jones keeps the band tight throughout the session with exquisite work from his kit, changing with the tempo and mood as needed. Percussionist George Jones adds his skill on a few selections with an assortment of instruments from bells to African drums.
Gallagher can swing with the best, but it's his delicate touch and arranging skills that separate him from the crowd. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is a quiet and very profound example of his smoothness, as his playing exhibits restraint, depth, and also expressive freedom. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is just downright tight, showing off his compositional skills. The recording also features Gallagher in the solo spotlight on pieces such as "The Holly and the Ivy" and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." His interpretations range from the playful and airy opener, "Sleigh Ride," to the earthy and funky sounds of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." If you're looking for a nice mix of loved holiday classics wrapped in a discriminating jazz package, then look no further.
Track Listing: 1. Sleigh Ride 2. The Little drummer Boy
3. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing 4. Holly and the Ivy
5. O Come All Ye Faithful 6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
7. O Holy Night 8. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
9. Let it Snow 10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
11. A Child Is Born 12. Sing We Now of Christmas 13. Silent Night
Personnel: Rick Gallagher - piano; Paul Thompson - bass;
Thomas Wendt - drums; George Jones - percussion
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.