Barbara Montgomery sings this slow and somber program of Christmas songs with piano accompaniment in a manner suited to the spiritual meaning of this holiday season. It's a time for reflection, for giving, for sharing, and for being there when our loved ones need us. Her prayerful interpretations leave us with humble tidings that weigh heavily on the holiday mood. Forget about jingling bells, Santa Claus, and visions of sugar plums. Consider instead the responsibility that we all bear at this time of the year, to look inside ourselves and to make sure that the true meaning of Christmas rests within us.
I'll Be Home for Christmas opens the album with its seldom-used verse. The glowing embers of a down-home fireplace beckon as Montgomery follows with the familiar lyric. "What Child is This follows with a woeful mourn that asks us to consider the holiday's true purpose. More traditional fare reminds us that the New Year's coming is a time for reflection and a time for making positive changes.
Peter, Paul and Mary gave us "Soalin.' Montgomery and Tom Lawson interpret this piece with a jazz spirit that switches gears in its spiritual mood, from slow and somber to upbeat and fresh. The driving jazz attitude proves quite refreshing.
Montgomery's gospel interpretation of "Children Go Where I Send Thee stands out as the album's high point as she and Lawson pump it up with spirits soaring. The music gives us all the strength that we need in order to completely fulfill our unselfish needs at this time of devout reflection.
Track Listing: I'll Be Home for Christmas; What Child is This; Lo How a Rose E're Blooming/Coventry Carol; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Carol of the Children; O Come O Come Emmanuel; Soalin'; Children Go Where I Send Thee; O Holy Night; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Personnel: Barbara Montgomery: vocals; Tom Lawson: piano; Barry Sames: piano (9).
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.