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Widely respected for his clean, animated bass lines and fluid, swinging right hand melodies, Dave McKenna has put together an hour of solo piano work for the Christmas season. All alone, with the microphones adjusted to further define right and left hands, McKenna provides the listener with a pleasant respite from days of weary holiday shopping.
In the spirit of Christmas, some lyrics are provided with the liner notes, and McKenna's comfortable consonant methods could provide suitable sing-along music for festive family gatherings if that were desired. But there is so much happening with the pianist's stride left hand and rollicking right hand that most of us would prefer to simply enjoy the performance, bypassing any intrusive participation of our own making. McKenna's compositions "Don't Want No Blues This Christmas," "An Eggnog, Some Mistletoe, and You," and "Snowbound" offer more insight into the creative spirit that has driven the pianist through fifty years of professional experience, including work with Woody Herman, Charlie Ventura, Gene Krupa and Stan Getz. This is McKenna's first Christmas album, and although it is far from being his best work, it is nevertheless a sensitive and worthwhile venture filled with enjoyable piano jazz.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Jingle Bells; Silent Night, Holy Night; Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow; Don't Want no Blues This Christmas; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; Christmas Waltz; O Little Town of Bethlehem/Mary's Little Boy-Child; O Holy Night; Silver Bells; I'll be Home for Christmas; Snowbound; An Eggnog, Some Mistletoe, and You; Sleigh Ride; O Come All Ye Faithful; O Christmas Tree.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.