372

Butch Thompson/Laure Sewell: Bethlehem After Dark

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Butch Thompson/Laure Sewell: Bethlehem After Dark A master at the soon-to-be lost art of Ragtime piano, Butch Thompson takes a relaxed view of holiday music. The Minnesota-born pianist was a regular on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion radio show for many years. He lasted quite a lot longer than my tolerance for Keillor's good clean fun. He went on to tour with trumpet legend Doc Cheatham, front a New Orleans revival band and consult on the Broadway show Jelly's Last Jam about the life and times of Jelly Roll Morton.

His prior Christmas album Yulestride (1994) was a solo effort. Here he enlists the help of fellow Minnesotan and cellist Laura Thompson. They cover the usual 'Angels We Have Heard On High,' 'Ave Maria,' and 'Joy To The World' and a few unusual tunes like James P. Johnson's' 'Snowy Morning Blues,' and Joseph Lamb's 'Reindeer Rag.' With the addition of Sewell, Thompson doesn't have to carry the day and relies on Sewell for textures and selected solos. Thompson is able to gear down from the frenetic nature of ragtime and stride piano for these mostly medium tempo renditions.

Sewell's takes the melody on 'I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm' and floats without undo sentimentality, as does Thompson throughout. Seems these days every country star, child (read Lolita-wannabe) rock star, and aging jazzbo is recording their versions of the maudlin holiday classics. Sorry, but those sap-filled treats are what brought on the Grinch in the first place. I prefer the less is more approach of Thompson and Sewell.

Track Listing: Bethlehem After Dark; I?ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm; In The Upper Garden/Only A Look; Reindeer Rag; I Wonder As I Wander; Angels We Have Heard On High; At The Christmas Ball; Lo, How A Rose; Joy To The World; Carol Of The Birds; Softly And Tenderly; Snowy Morning Blues; Coventry Carol; Ave Maria.

Personnel: Butch Thompson: Piano; Laura Sewell: Cello.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Daring Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Sunflower / Goodbye" CD/LP/Track Review Sunflower / Goodbye
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 28, 2016
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Reflection" CD/LP/Track Review Reflection
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "The Lightning Bell" CD/LP/Track Review The Lightning Bell
by John Eyles
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Dream Delivery" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Delivery
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!