All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Trio West: Trio West Plays Holiday Songs


Sign in to view read count
It isn't every new release that provides nostalgia without even playing it. Trio West's record label, Yummy House, is an exact look-alike of Columbia vinyl releases circa 1960. Without having the actual Columbia logo, this album has the same distinctive red, white and black label with the Columbia "stereo arrow" displayed. I felt like I was back in 1960 watching the platters spin and listening to The Kirby Stone Four or Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Although the group has been performing in New York since 1995, this is its premier releas0,e and the subject is strictly a holiday tunes motif. The group is named by the fact that they all reside on the West Side of Manhattan.

What is most impressive about this effort is that the group doesn't play in the reverential manner usually reserved for these carols and holiday-related songs. The album begins with a great bouncy version of "O Tannenbaum, not something that you'd ordinarily hear. The loping version of "Silent Night" begins with an effective piano statement and solo, but concludes with a drum-featured finale that is anything but silent.

The trio is much more comfortable with a jazz tune; Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here," taken from the A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy, 1965) songbook, is performed low-key in ballad format. While "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" commences with a melodic piano statement, once that is finished, keyboardist Eldad Zvulun breaks into a Latin montuno and, together with drummer Tobias T. Gebb, provides some pretty hot mambo music (just short of two minutes). The tempo then slows down for the melody restatement; finally concluding with continued Latin jazz for another two minutes.

A rendition of the traditional "O Little Town of Bethlehem" is taken as a mid-tempo swing, and the trio gets into a fine groove here. A song that can be interpreted as a holiday (or not) composition is Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," and the trio comes closest to a well-rendered jazz ballad here. The Mel Tormé "Christmas Song" is given a rather up-tempo treatment, and the holiday pop ballad, "I'll Be Home For Christmas," is given the fastest pace on the album, sounding much like the trio couldn't wait to get finished with it. There are two versions of "Little Drummer Boy": the traditional arrangement featuring the drummer playing the tattoo; and an alternative and very accelerated arrangement, with Gebb playing brushes, matched by Zvulun and guest bassist Miles Brown, who also takes a solo.

Throughout the album, Zvulun maintains a swinging vocabulary and injects most of these tunes with his bebop background. Neal Miner gets to solo on several tracks including "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" and the first version of "Little Drummer Boy, while drummer Tobias Gebb is a man afire, and keeps everything afloat.

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).

Title: Trio West Plays Holiday Songs | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Yummyhouse Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
An Upper West Side Story

An Upper West Side...

Yummyhouse Records

Trio West Plays Holiday Songs

Trio West Plays...

Yummyhouse Records


Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Air and Light and Time and Space" CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Contact" CD/LP/Track Review Contact
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "The Willisau Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Willisau Concert
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 9, 2017
Read "Think Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Think Ahead
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "My Love" CD/LP/Track Review My Love
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 28, 2017