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Leader Tobias Gebb, born and raised on the west side of Manhattan, pays homage, with his trio, to home and family on this traditional holiday album. Since 1995, Trio West has found reason to carry a straight-ahead jazz message to its New York audience year-round, with a mix of the new and of the old. Recalling the heartfelt and easy-on-the-ears musical good fortune of The Modern Jazz Quartet's John Lewis, Ahmad Jamal and Vince Guaraldi, pianist Eldad Zvulun interprets a dozen Christmas songs with comfortable assists from his band mates. Together, they put a few new twists on these classic songs.
The trio interprets "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with a lovely Latin jazz feeling that reaches deep inside like a tango and drives passionately. Leader Gebb provides a mesmerizing woodblock beat that puts bassist Neal Miner and pianist Zvulun on cruise control. It's beautiful. Similarly, several other selections take on an Afro-Cuban texture that comes and goes as the trio delivers variety in its jazz adventures.
"Little Drummer Boy features the leader's quiet and crisp snare drum, leading the way to a solemn adventure that moves the spirit from deep within. Double-bassist Miner shares the melody with pianist Zvulun, as the trio reminds its audience of the true meaning of Christmas. An alternate arrangement of "Little Drummer Boy, featuring the band's other bassist, Miles Brown, moves much faster, demonstrating with wire brushes what a great effect modern jazz has on traditional songs. The trio takes this closing number at full stride, pushing straight-ahead jazz at a rapid clip and reminding its audience that holidays are meant for enjoying what we love most.
Track Listing: 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
Personnel: Tobias T. Gebb: drums; Eldad Zvulun: piano; Neal Miner: double-bass; Miles Brown: double-bass (1, 10, 12).