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Connie Evingson: The Secret Of Christmas

Jim Santella By

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Scat singing, interpreting familiar lyrics, and inserting fresh, new ideas into her holiday program, Connie Evingson offers a personal gift for everyone. The Jazz lover appreciates the strength of her vocal instrument and the cohesive manner in which she integrates her artistic companions. The Swing lover appreciates the bright outlook that she’s applied to traditional holiday fare. The Gospel lover appreciates her deep, searing, spiritual portrayal; and the Blues lover appreciates the sincerity of her interpretation.

With ”chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” Evingson sets the scene for holiday delights. Piano, upright bass, swirling brushes, and a luscious tenor saxophone voice provide the aural equivalent of sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers, eggnog, candy canes, stockings filled with video games, and toy trains chugging all over the place. While the neighborhood is all lit up in celebration, Evingson takes it home: inside, where personal messages can be traded in private and hearts can be revealed.

Her touching lyrics to “The Nutcracker Suite” take the listener on Tchaikovsky’s tour of exotic places with an up-close and personal vision. Then, for his “Waltz of the Flowers” movement, she scats up a storm and describes what we’re all feeling. Classic music performed with an open heart and a creative mind makes a fine holiday companion. Samples are available at Evingson’s web site.

Guest trumpeter Doc Severinsen provides a gracious assist for the singer’s Afro-Cuban arrangement of “Gesu Bambino.” She and pianist Mary Louise Knutson make a perfect melodic match for the trumpeter’s high, solemn cries and percussionist Shai Hayo’s wall-to-wall rhythmic shines. An a cappella performance of “Silent Night” adds significant personal empathy. Robert Everest accompanies on acoustic guitar and adds vocal harmony to Evingson’s ballad portrayal of “A Cradle in Bethlehem.” The title track, a loving ballad with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, invites a favorable comparison of the vocalist to Ella Fitzgerald. Throughout her holiday program, Evingson remains free to provide what she feels naturally. Every time of the year is right for this kind of genuine performance. Enjoy this one all year long.


Track Listing: Snowfall/I Love Winter Weather; A Carol of Bells, Simple gifts, The Christmas Song, The Nutcracker Petite Suite, Some Children See Him, Gesu Bambino, The Secret of Christmas, A Cradle in Bethlehem, Silent Night

Personnel: Connie Evingson—vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, Sanford Moore—piano; Terry Burns, David Martin—bass; Jay Epstein, Steve Jennings—drums; Dave Karr—saxophone, flute, clarinet; Ricky Peterson—B3 organ; Doc Severinson—trumpet; shai Hayo—percussion; Robert Everest—guitar, vocals

Title: The Secret of Christmas | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Minnehaha Music


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