The Hope of Christmas

Ann Hampton Callaway

Label: MCG Jazz
Released: 2015
Views: 410


1. On Union Street (A Christmas Toast)04:13 2. The Hope of Christmas 04:12 3. One Star 04:35 4. Discovery 05:12 5. I Believe 03:46 6. I Saw a Sparrow 03:19 7. Santa Doesn't Like Me 03:35 8. Christmas Isn't Christmas At All 04:46 9. I Want To Play Santa 04:26 10. What Good Is Being Cranky (When It's Christmas Time) 04:01 11. My Gift of Thanks 04:23 12. Fly With The Angels 05:47


Steve Wilson
saxophone, alto
Marty Ashby
Five Play
band / orchestra
Hubert Laws
Gerald Albright

Album Description

“On Union Street” with music by Wesley Whatley is the lively and wistful opening track of the delightful jazz based recording, The Hope of Christmas. It is performed by the acclaimed vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway and is one of the twelve songs on it she magnificently sings. Lyricist William Schermerhorn has crafted eleven wonderful original songs for this work that range from sentimental to inspirational to the warmly comic that perfectly capture the spirit of the holiday. His fine words are matched by the gorgeous melodies of accomplished composers. It’s a novel accomplishment to have created totally new compositions that successfully delve into themes that virtually everyone is familiar with from the many classic Christmas songs already in existence. Mr. Schermerhorn’s titles simply and illustratively convey their meanings. “One Star” with music by Stephen Fox is a marvelous Christmas list song. “I Believe” with music by Wesley Whatley tenderly emulates classic songs about Santa. This was first performed by Kermit the Frog and was previously released as a single with Kermit the Frog and Disney star Tiffany Thornton. Mr. Whatley also composed “I Want to Play Santa” a jaunty ode to wanting Christmas to last all year long. Ms. Callaway’s renowned expressive voice fully brings emotional depth and lightness when required to each song. “What Good is Being Cranky (When It’s Christmas Time)” with music by Mary Ehlinger finds her deliriously scat singing. Michael Feinstein composed “My Gift of Thanks” and it’s a smoothly effective tribute to optimism dominated by commanding saxophone interludes. Ms. Callaway composed the finale “Fly With The Angels” and it’s a slow tempo lush composition with the recording’s producer Marty Asby’s superb guitar playing prominently intertwined. This number showcases her fantastic soaring tones and ends with her whispering “Merry Christmas.” The jazz ensembles Five Play and New York Voices sparklingly support Ms. Callaway. In addition there is trumpeter Cláudio Roditi, saxophonist Gerald Albright, The Ted Rosenthal Trio led by pianist Ted Rosenthal who all make up the sensational band. Mr. Schermerhorn has been awarded two Emmys for his songwriting for television. The collaboration with Ms. Callaway on The Hope of Christmas took eighteen months and has resulted in this joyous and eclectic recording. It contains a number of songs that are undoubtedly sure join the long list of holiday perennials. Sung with her impeccable intonation and perfect pitch, Ann takes each song to untold heights It s classic Ann Hampton Callaway, sung in a voice that just gains in substance the deeper she digs into a phrase. Those vocals and her definitive phrasing on every note, along with a quickening vibrato on drawn-out notes as she expresses emotion as only she can, make her the one-of-a-kind artist she remains. Ann Hampton Callaway has given followers a special gift. Order it before it sells out. — Cabaret Scenes The album is jazzy, hopeful, modern, and infused with the dark golden honey of one of the finest voices in jazz today. The pure heart and the hope that Christmas feelings will last all year. —Q On Stage ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY/The Hope of Christmas: There s fun songs, there s straight songs, there s serous songs and there s a killer crew of jazzbos bringing up the rear. A totally new album from top to bottom, Killer stuff that s going to become part of the ages. —Midwest Records

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