All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

269

Alexis Cole at St. Peter's Church

Ernest Barteldes By

Sign in to view read count
Alexis Cole
St. Peter's Church
New York, NY
December 04, 2009

Backed by a seven-piece band, vocalist Alexis Cole took the stage for the New York release concert of her latest CD, The Greatest Gift (Motema Music, 2009), with an inspired version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." She gave lots of space for the group (Mark Tonelli, guitar; Brandon Nelson, bass; Scott Drewes, drums; Xavier Perez, sax; Vito Speranza, trumpet; and Dan Pierce, trombone) to freely improvise around the melody. She then invited her father, pianist Mark Finkin, to join her for a New Orleans-influenced take on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which set the tone for the rest of the evening.
This was clearly not going to be an ordinary selection of holiday songs, for Cole clearly had more than a few surprises in store. This was further evidenced with a more Latin-tinged arrangement of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" that gave plenty of opportunities for the brass to exchange a few well-placed licks. The band took a break as 10-year-old cellist Sebastian Stoger DeMayo to play a well-received classical piece.

The band returned with a piano-centered piece, and then Cole came back with a cool take on "Christmas Time is Here" that had touches of bossa nova. Finkin once again then took the keys for a very complex original piece that had touches of John Coltrane-era post-bop mixed with some contemporary grooves.

A youngsters' choir joined Cole and the band for a blend of two separate songs—one which the vocalist explained was inspired by the World War I Christmas truce in 1914. Unfortunately, due to the acoustics of the room, one couldn't quite hear all the voices in the group, as they were mostly drowned out by the male singers and the other musicians; it was enjoyable nevertheless. The concert came to a close with a personal rendition of "Silent Night" that was filled with dissonant notes that led to a few improvisational moments and an original Finkin tune that had more of a boogie feel.

Both on disc and on in live format, Alexis Cole tends to have a more unconventional approach toward her songs. Her concerts have a laid-back feel, which puts the audience immediately at ease. That was precisely what happened at St. Peter's church, as Cole made it feel more of like a friends and family affair that turned out to be a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Catching Up With
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Motéma Music
2009

buy
Zingaro

Zingaro

Canopy Jazz
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "Jazzdor Berlin" Live Reviews Jazzdor Berlin
by Henning Bolte
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Ostrava Days 2017" Live Reviews Ostrava Days 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Charlie Parr At Higher Ground" Live Reviews Charlie Parr At Higher Ground
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018" Live Reviews JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2018
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 2, 2018