Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

500

Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra: Carol of the Bells

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count
Every band that records a Christmas album faces identical challenges: find fresh approaches to familiar repertoire or think outside the box and choose songs that weren't written with the holiday in mind. While the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra sticks with traditional favorites, trombonist/arranger Brent Wallarab—who counts Duke Ellington, Sy Oliver, Billy Byers, Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Henry Mancini among his favorite arrangers—together with a top-notch group of instrumentalists and an outstanding vocalist, has produced a clear winner for Christmas jazz devotees.

The rich bass voice of Everett Greene, who invites comparison to the late Joe Williams, is generously showcased on seven of the twelve tracks. His gospel-tinged vocals, along with Luke Gillespie's Memphis-flavored piano and Mike Stricklin's soulful alto sax, keep the centuries-old "Silent Night fresh. Greene also offers a potent interpretation of "The Christmas Song and, while it won't topple the late Nat King Cole's famous version, it stands tall on its own merits. He also adds a poignant touch to the bittersweet ballad "I'll Be Home For Christmas.

The instrumentals are just as enticing. Vince Guaraldi's "Skating, written for the perennial favorite TV cartoon special A Charlie Brown Christmas, showcases soprano saxophonist Rob Dixon and clarinetist Frank Glover, in addition to strong section work by the brass and reeds. Wallarab's scoring of "O' Tannenbaum transforms his band into a subtle Count Basie-like unit, with crisp solos by trumpeter Michael Hackett and the leader himself. If there's one minor bone to pick with this CD, it is "Jingle Bells, which is a bit too derivative of Duke Ellington's famous arrangement that has appeared on a number of Christmas albums, though the soloists at least don't try to copy Duke's men.

Track Listing: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; The Christmas Song; O' Tannenbaum; Joy To the World; Silent Night; Jingle Bells; I'll Be Home for Christmas; Carol of the Bells; Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!; Skating; Christmastime is Here; What Are You Doing New Years Eve?.

Personnel: Brent Wallarab: arranger, trombone; Mark Buselli: trumpet, flugelhorn; Everett Greene: vocals; Tom Meyer: alto and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet; Mike Stricklin: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet; Frank Glover: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Rob Dixon: soprano and tenor saxophones; Ned Boyd: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Joey Tartell: lead trumpet, flugelhorn; Jeff Conrad: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mike Hackett: trumpet, flugelhorn; Celeste Holler: French horn; Loy Hetrick: trombone; Jason Miller: trombone; Rich Dole: bass trombone; Robin Hoskins: guitar; Luke Gillespie: piano; Jack Helsley: bass; Jesse Nolan: drums.

Title: Carol of the Bells | Year Released: 2007

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Such A Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017