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Dallas Christian Jazz Band: He's Everything to Me & Christmas with the DCJB

Jack Bowers By

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The Dallas Christian Jazz Band, formed in 1994 to "praise God through instrumental music, produced its first CD, He's Everything to Me, four years later, one year before releasing Christmas with the DCJB. A third album, Sermonette, was recorded in 2001-03 and reviewed here last month.

As these are earlier recordings, the difference in the level of maturity and prowess between them and Sermonette is apparent. That's not to say the DCJB ever sounds less than professional, only that it was still finding its sea legs when the initial albums were produced. Even then, however, it was a pretty good band, comparable in many respects, I'd say, to an able-bodied college-level ensemble.

Dallas Christian Jazz Band
He's Everything to Me
DCJB
1998

He's Everything is enhanced by the presence of guest trumpeters Galen Jeter, leader of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra (on Don Sebesky's wonderful arrangement of "Danny Boy, written for Maynard Ferguson) and the late Tommy Loy, then-lead trumpet for the Dallas Cowboys ("Jericho ) who joins the trumpet section for every number on Christmas with the DCJB. Among the other soloists on He's Everything is trombonist David Kelley ("Face to Face, "Jericho, euphonium on the title track) who succeeded Skip Parker as the band's music director shortly before its second album was recorded. Trumpeter Vaughn Sinclair is featured on "Lead On, O King Eternal, alto saxophonist David Pittman on "A Closer Walk, soprano Don Daniel on "Jesus Loves Me. Camp Kirkland arranged "A Closer Walk, "Jericho and "To God Be the Glory, and there are two charts each by Ralph Carmichael ("He's Everything, "New 23rd ) and the peerless Chris McDonald ("Abide with Me, "Jesus Loves Me ).

Dallas Christian Jazz Band
Christmas with the DCJB
DCJB
1999

The ensemble is in excellent form again on Christmas, sounding confident — one could even say inspired—in a program that includes several traditional hymns ("Merry Gentlemen, "Midnight Clear, "Silent Night," a medley of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and "Angels We Have Heard on High ) but whose emphasis is on more recent seasonal favorites, from "The Little Drummer Boy, "The Christmas Song, "Frosty the Snow Man and "I'll Be Home for Christmas to "Let It Snow!, Jingle Bells, "Sleigh Ride and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Soloists are respectable if not mind-bending, with Don Daniel's tenor featured on "Let It Snow! and "Midnight Clear, David Pittman's alto on "Merry Gentlemen, Steve Hall's vibes on "Silent Night. Trumpeter Loy solos with valve trombonist Kelley on "Drummer Boy, pianist Glenda Feltenberger on "Frosty, Daniel on "Sleigh Ride, Daniel and flutist Tanya Speed on "Herald Angels Sing/Angels on High. A Dixieland group performs "O Tannenbaum, a trombone quartet (Kelley, Tom Fletcher, James Martin, bass Wes Bolton) "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Music director Kelley also "sings on "Jingle Bells.

Two praiseworthy albums by musicians who put their talent where their heart is but never forget that Jazz should swing and be fun to play. In other words, one doesn't necessarily have to be pious to appreciate the DCJB's handiwork.

Visit the Dallas Christian Jazz Band on the web.


He's Everything

Personnel: Skip Parker, director; Dave Cason, Roger Young, David Speed, Art Drescher, Galen Jeter (7), Vaughn Sinclair (8), Tommy Loy (10), trumpet; David Pittman, Mark McKenzie, alto sax; Don Daniel, tenor, soprano sax; David Oakley, tenor sax; Lynn Denson, baritone sax; Tanya Speed, flute; Sarah Elliot, clarinet; David Kelley, Tom Fletcher, trombone, euphonium; James Martin, Scott Nichols, trombone; Randy Morrison, bass trombone; Glenda Feltenberger, piano; Diane Lundy, synthesizer; Dave Stephens, guitar; Steve Webb, bass; Steve Hall, vibes, drums; John Scott, percussion.

Tracks: He's Everything to Me; Just a Closer Walk with Thee; Abide with Me; Jesus Loves Me; New 23rd; Face to Face; Danny Boy; Lead On, O King Eternal; To God Be the Glory; Jericho (38:32).

Christmas

Personnel: David Kelley, director, trombone; Vaughn Sinclair, Tommy Loy, Mike Magers, David Speed, Skip Parker, Art Drescher, trumpet; David Pittman, alto sax, clarinet; Mark McKenzie, alto sax; Don Daniel, Arthur Gonzales (8, 9), tenor sax; David Oakley, tenor sax, oboe; Lynn Denson, baritone sax; Tanya Speed, flute; James Martin, Tom Fletcher, Wes Bolton, trombone; Randy Morrison, bass trombone; Glenda Feltenberger, piano; Diane Lundy, synthesizer; David Stephens, guitar; Steve Webb, Dimitrius Salmudio (1, 5, 12), bass; Steve Hall, drums; John Scott (12), Donna Kelley (12), David Kelley (12), percussion. Dixieland Group (11) — Don Daniel, tenor sax; David Pittman, clarinet; Tommy Loy, trumpet; David Kelley, trombone; Randy Morrison, tuba; Diane Lundy, piano; Steve Hall, drums. Trombone Quartet (13) — Tom Fletcher, David Kelley, James Martin, Wes Bolton (bass).

Tracks: The Little Drummer Boy; The Christmas Song; Frosty the Snow Man; I'll Be Home for Christmas; Let It Snow!; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Jingle Bells; Midnight Clear; Silent Night, Holy Night; Sleigh Ride; O Tannenbaum; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Angels We Have Heard on High; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (48:32).


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