Christmas is not only a time for goodwill, it is also the time for a slew of recordings that rework the music of the season. The music has been recorded in every conceivable genre and the beat still goes on. And now, Trio West offers their version of eleven tunes.
Eldad Zvulun (piano), Tobias T. Gebb (drums) and Neal Miner (bass) are based in New York. Gebb, their leader, was born in the west side of Manhattan and, voila, there came the inspiration for their name.
The chestnuts on this record could have been roasted beyond caring, but Trio West make it apparent that they have a sensitive feel for the music. They reinvent the themes, bringing in enough variation to make them interesting without sacrificing cohesion. Zvulun has a rhapsodic approach and he uses it to the full. He lets "Silent Night drink deeply from its melody before he gently explores and ruminates, defining it in a radiant new light. If there is one rather sore point, it is the heavily accented drumming of Gebb. Subtlety would have made a remarkable difference.
Christmas Time is Here gets treated the right way. Zvulun leavens the tune with beautiful emotion, opening the spaces and creating an eloquent presence aided by the tasteful support of Gebb and Miner.
Winter Wonderland has a sunnier approach. This time Zvulun adds a becoming lilt, his notes accentuated just enough for emphasis and his inventions indulging in the melody.
Overall, this is an enjoyable CD that should help brighten the season.
O Tannenbaum; Silent Night; Christmas Time is Here; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; What Child is This; Winter Wonderland; Little Drummer Boy; O Little Town of Bethlehem; What Are You Doing New Year
Tobias T. Gebb: drums; Eldad Zvulun: piano; Neal Miner: double-bass; Miles Brown: double-bass (1, 10, 12).
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