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For his 5th album, smooth jazz vocalist Slim Man, whose real name is Tim Camponeschi, has turned to the holiday season for musical inspiration. With a mixed play list of familiar and not so familiar commercial holiday tunes, Slim Man joins some smooth jazz friends and special guests to produce a pleasant set of holiday music. Slim Man sings with a straight forward, unpretentious vocal style, no whoops, swoops or wahs, wahs here. He also makes very efficient use of the people he has with him. Kevin Levi does a nice wailing alto sax solo on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Peter White shows up guitar in hand for "Let It Snow" where, for some reason, he sounds as if he's playing Hawaiian steel guitar. I guess that's a smooth jazz thing. Native to that genre is the use of electronically created instrumentation of which there is plenty throughout the session. But to the credit of the performers, it's used tastefully such as on "Carol of the Bells". This is a captivating track. The band plays "Carol of the Bells" with Slim Man inserting a few measures from "My Favorite Things". But it's Tom Alonso's acoustic piano that carries the day on this cut, and carries it well. As a change of pace, matters get Latin as Slim Man shoots off a festive rendering of Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad". The liner notes to this album contain a Slim Man admission that he was never very crazy about Christmas. But he got an attitude adjustment while on one of his tours. The result is this nicely turned out CD of Christmas music by a singer who will bring memories of Nat King Cole to the minds of many listeners.
Track Listing: Winter Wonderland; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; It's almost Christmas; White Christmas; Let It snow; The Christmas Song; Christmas Time Is Here; Carol of the Bells; All I Want for Christmas; Sleighride; Feliz Navidad; Blue Christmas
Personnel: Slim Man - Vocal/Bass; Tom Alonso - Piano/Fender Rhodes/Keyboards; George Hazelrigg - Piano/Fender Rhodes/Electric guitar/Keyboards; Geoff Hazelrigg - Bass; Kevin Levi - Alto & Soprano Sax; David Rhen - Alto & Tenor Sax; David Makowiecki/Randy Brecker - Trumpet; Jeff Chiaverini - Trombone; John E. Coale - Drums; Howard Zizzi, Alfredo Mojica - Percussion; Diane Alonso, Elizabeth Pecore - Backup Vocals; Marc Antoine, Ken Navarro, Peter White - Guitar; Freddie Ravel - Piano
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.