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 next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.