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Richard Williams: Hollywood Christmas

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Richard Williams: Hollywood Christmas
Ready or not, Christmas music is on the way. And this is Christmas music, old school. Do you remember The Andy Williams Christmas Album? Then, as the old joke goes, there may be fire in the hearth, but snow on the roof, because that was 1963, at least the first version.

This recording, for sure, is a walk down memory lane and will produce a lot of nostalgia in listeners of a certain age. For some folks, that will be ok, especially if they are into retro aluminum trees with color wheels. Others may take a pass, but this is strictly a matter of taste. There is so much division afoot that it is sometimes pleasant to daydream of the times when the divisions, if no less real, were at least somewhat less apparent.

Richard Williams (no kin to Andy, apparently) offers an unapologetic, old-fashioned recording that evokes Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, the Carpenters, and subliminally, Nat Cole, Perry Como, Ray Coniff and a whole lot more. A listener can decide about the choice of material, but if you can hear "The Christmas Song" without wincing, be happy. Williams put together just the recording. And the talent that appears is anything but old-fashioned. The big band jazz was recorded in Hollywood and relies on the talents of today's studio players. The strings and woodwinds were done in Budapest by the Budapest Scoring Orchestra. The playing is first-rate all the way through and the recording is excellent.

The recording is somewhat unusual in that in brings together a wide range of excellent contemporary vocal artists scattered among 22 tracks (even Benny Benack III makes an appearance). There are then 18 instrumental tracks that follow, all of them holiday music. It makes a listener think that this would be a great disk for a holiday party, because it easily does the work of a number of CDs, or if one chooses to randomize, then you get the best of both worlds, vocal and instrumental.

So, if you have a stack of holiday music squirreled away in a closet waiting for whatever the starting date of the season is in your neck of the woods, the record will fit in quite comfortably, and bring some younger, fresher voices to the music from another time.

Track Listing

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; The Holiday Season; Happy Holiday; The Christmas Song; White Christmas; Santa Claus is Coming to Town; Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; Here Comes Santa Claus; Jingle Bells; Frosty the Snowman; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; Winter Wonderland; Let it Snow; Up on the Housetop; There's No Place Like Home; I'll Be Home For Christmas; Coming Home; Somewhere in My Memory; Someway, Somehow.

Personnel

Richard Williams: piano; Eric Marienthal: saxophone, soprano; Sal Lozano: saxophone; Brandon Fields: saxophone; Dan Kaneyuki: saxophone, alto; Will Vargas: saxophone; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet; Rob Schaer: trumpet; Kye Palmer: trumpet; Mitchell Cooper: trumpet; Andy Marrin: trombone; Joey Sellers: trombone; Erik Hughes: trombone; Robert Todd: trombone; Trey Henry: bass; Bernie Dresel: drums; Alex Stiles: voice / vocals; Nate Bryant: voice / vocals; Rebecca Lopez: voice / vocals; Even Collett: voice / vocals.

Additional Instrumentation

Connor Ross: voice/vocals; Taylor Miranda: voice/vocals; Dmitry Noskov: voice/vocals; Hayley Kirkland: voice/vocals; Benny Benack: voice/vocals; Chelsea Brooke Olson: voice/vocals; Julie Seechuk: voice/vocals; Company B Singers; Women's Choir; Brady Bills: guitar.

Album information

Title: Hollywood Christmas | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Self-Produced


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