Riding high on the success of her most recent albums, "Flying Toward The Sound" and "Geri Allen & Timeline Live", Geri Allen will release her first Christmas album this fall.
Allen's label, Motéma Music, describes the coming holiday set as "a joyous celebration of the spirit of Christmas". The album will feature familiar classics mixed with ancient carols and Geri will perform on a variety of keyboard instruments--including a vintage Fender Rhodes, Hohner clavinet, concert celeste, Farfisa organ, and Grand Piano. The expected title of the album is "A Child Is Born" after the Thad Jones classic that has long been a favorite of Ms. Allen's. You can hear a Geri Allen solo performance of "A Child Is Born" via a January edition of NPR's "Generations In Jazz" concert; Allen's performance (which NPR says "steals the evening") begins about 29 minutes into the program.
Icelandic beauty and Jazz princess Anna Mjoll lends a bit of seductive breathiness to a wide range of Christmas favorites, generally accompanied by gentle bossa and samba rhythms. The whole thing makes for an excellent fireside Christmas cuddle disc and Anna distinguishes herself as a legitimate vocalist to be reckoned with. But where "Christmas Jazzmaz" becomes transcendent pour moi is on the last 4 tracks where Anna sings the most classic of Christmas songs in Icelandic! Awesome! My favorite track, on first listen, is "Winter Wonderland"--both the English and Icelandic versions--with it's "come hither" tempo and delivery. Track I could have lived without? "Santa Baby". On this album, it sounds...redundant. In a matchup of the two, I'd still opt for Lisa Ono every time but this holiday confection from Anna Mjoll is a solid effort and definitely helps Iceland make up to the rest of the world for Bjork. Check out the song samples on Amazon.
And if you're looking for a Christmas Jazz track that's likely to get lost in the shuffle and missed by other Christmas Jazz fans--a Christmas chestnut beloved by all yet unlike any other version ever--may we point the way to the Peter Evans Quintet album "Ghosts", released in January of this year. Evans and Company begin with Mel Torme's classic "The Christmas Song" but, by the time they finish, it's well worth a new title. The nearly 15 minute epic jazzical journey, as performed here, goes by the title "One to Ninety-Two". The rest of "Ghosts" has no seasonal connections, but "One to Ninety-Two", with its rapidly changing tempos and futuristic deconstructions and reconstructions, is a full Christmas buffet.
Keith McKelley is still working on raising the funding for his Christmas project. He's got all the arrangements ready to go, but studio time can be very expensive. And every dollar counts. I'd like to think the readers of Stubby's House of Christmas could toss a few bucks Keith's way. Surely, we've provided you with at least a dollar or two's entertainment and information. If you agree, please go to GoFundMe and drop a dollar in the pot. I think it would be good for our site and it would certainly be good for the world of Christmas music. Tell 'em Stubby sent you. ;-) Check out Keith's debut album to hear the kind of talent we're talking about and just imagine what he could do with Christmas. Mmmm, mmm, mmm.
John Zorn has announced that, in addition to the vinyl, CD, and digital versions of "A Dreamers Christmas", there will also be a limited edition vinyl 45 from the album. No word on the specific tracks that will get the honor, but our vote is a resounding "Yes, please." Oh, and check the 45 picture sleeve artwork at the right. Ain't that a thing of beauty?
And there's a new Christmas album coming from New York Jazz guitar great Doug Munro. "A Very Gypsy Christmas" is a bit of an homage to Jazz greats Django Reinhardt and Stephane Greppelli. You'll find a full write up on our Previews page. Which reminds me....
Things are about to get busy around here and it's time for one of our reminders that following the RSS feed for only this front page will leave you missing out on a lot of the action. The Previews page is starting to fill out. Our List is experiencing almost daily changes, now; you'll want to be checking that to find out such tidbits as whether Scott Weiland's holiday album has gotten a release date (it has--October 4!) or what the title of Mindy Gledhill's Christmas album will be ("Winter Moon"). And the other pages will be bustling soon, too. We've got some great new freebies coming very soon. We'll have another album for the International page and even a new entry coming in our Essentials collection very very soon. We'll be getting back to the full Reviews as well by the end of the month. I hope. Anyway, something tells me it's all happening here at the zoo, so I hope you'll stop by often in the months to come and I hope you enjoy yourself here whenever you do.