372

Butch Thompson/Laure Sewell: Bethlehem After Dark

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Album information

Title: Bethlehem After Dark | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Daring Records

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.


MUSICSTACK

Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers

AMAZON

CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more

HD TRACKS

Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads

CD UNIVERSE

Specializing in music, movies and video games

REVERB

Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

More

Read GMQ
GMQ
Geoff Mason
Read For Now
For Now
Brian Landrus
Read Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp. William Parker, Gerald Cleaver