All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

573

Eddie Higgins Trio: Christmas Songs

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Tis the season (again? already?), and along with the usual relentless merchandising we get the new flock of Christmas jazz. So, striking an ecumenical note, here's the question: why is this Christmas CD different from all other Christmas CDs? After all, it contains a dozen of the most popular holiday songs, done in standard trio format. The answer goes beyond the cover, Meredith d'Ambrosio's fascinating egg-shell mosaic of a snowy Charles River, although it's a huge departure from Venus Records' usual suggestive artwork.

First, this is the kind of music that you can play at family gatherings when your relatives are allergic to jazz (as in, "why do they keep messing up the melody?"). For one thing, Eddie Higgins is the gentlest of sparkling pianists, and the tunes are served straight up with only brief improvised choruses, offering a friendly invitation to any shower singers in the room (mirror dancers will also enjoy "White Christmas"). For another, Higgins's comrades are also world-class: Jay Leonhart is justly renowned for his pitch, melody and wit, while Joe Ascione is famed for his imagination, versatility and taste. Together they produce consistently swinging and delightful music, with no need to lunge for the "skip" button at any time.

Happily, there are stealth surprises in here for the jazz fan, like the intriguing arrangement of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," where Ascione double-times his brushes over Leonhart's stately bowing; "Little Town...", which gets due reverence in the opening piano solo, then glides into a slow bossa; and "Sleigh Ride," with its tongue-in-cheek quote from Prokofiev and Higgins really stretching out. The longest track, at 6:11, is "Winter Wonderland," but even Aunt Gertrude will be bobbing her head to Ascione's tasty solos, especially after a few trips to the punch bowl.

These Christmas Songs are warm, beautifully-executed, and, well, merry.


Track Listing: Let it Snow, The Christmas Song, I'll Be Home for Christmas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Waltz, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, Sleigh Ride

Personnel: Eddie Higgins (piano), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)

Title: Christmas Songs | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Venus Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Christmas Songs II

Christmas Songs II

Venus Records
2009

buy
It's Magic

It's Magic

Venus Jazz
2007

buy
Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs

Venus Records
2005

buy
Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs

Venus Records
2004

buy
 

You Don't Know What...

Repertoire Records
2004

buy
 

The Swingin'est

Repertoire Records
1997

buy

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Hidden Details" CD/LP/Track Review Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Streaming" CD/LP/Track Review Streaming
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 24, 2018
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "Somewhere Glimmer" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "For Lew" CD/LP/Track Review For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Tone Twister" CD/LP/Track Review Tone Twister
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 19, 2017