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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 grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...