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Off The Beaten Path. Each year, I seek out new holiday music, usually in the jazz and classical realms. There have been several notable releases this year, including offerings by the Nagel-Heyer bunch and Cyrus Chestnut, among others. However, the music that immediately captured my attention this season I found being sold at a local holiday goods offering by the artist himself. I found the artist, Steve Barta, studied and urbane...like I was to find his music.
The Artist Formerly Known As... Steve Barta is a Colorado Springs-based pianist-composer who has been releasing recordings on his Source Music label for the last several years. A longtime associate of flautist Herbie Mann, Barta has released a variety of jazz and seasonal recordings, and returns to the latter genre with Herbie Mann on The Twelve Days of Christmas. Supported by his working trio members, Kim Stone and Ronnie Shaw, and augmented by Mann and Don Griffin on guitar, Barta follows up two exceptional solo piano holiday discs ( That Christmas Feeling and Noel ) and a multicultural extravaganza ( Christmas Around The World ). Twelve Days is the most overtly jazzy of Barta's holiday releases, and that is what makes it so fun.
Mr. Barta employs an exquisitely soft touch and sensibility while steering carefully through the traditional ("O Christmas Tree", "Sleigh Ride", and "Let It Snow!") and more contemporary ("Skating", "Linus and Lucy", and "My Favorite Things"). Herbie Mann and Don Griffin join Barta on a decidedly Bossa version of Mel Torme's "Christmas Song". The playing across board is tasteful. Barta's arrangements are equally tasteful and informed. He judiciously uses his string section to add a down filler to his arrangements, increasing their warmth. This holiday music is worth seeking out and may be acquired from Source Music's website ( http://www.sourcemusic.com/ ) or by writing to Source Music, P.O. Box 1543, Colorado Springs, CO 80901.
Track Listing: O Christmas Tree; The Christmas Waltz; Sleigh Ride; Skating; Linus And Lucy; What Are You Doing New Years Eve?; Christmas Time Is Here; Silver Bells; Let It Snow!; The Christmas Song; Air On The G String; My Favorite Things; The Twelve Days Of Christmas. (Total Time: 52:33)
Personnel: Steve Barta: Piano; Kim Stone: Bass; Ronnie Shaw: Drums; Herbie Mann: Flute; Don Griffin: Guitar; And String Orchestra.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com