By the way, do you know how Sharon came to be the recording star that she so clearly is today? Lee Fields and the Soul Providers were laying down some tracks in 1996 and requested some back-up singers from the local church for the session. Sharon was the only one who showed up. One of the Soul Providers would go on to co-found Dap Tone records and Sharon Jones would be one of the first artists they signed. See? Showing up really is 80% of success (the other 80% is hard work and having a God given voice that's simultaneously smooth and rough).
Anyway, the album is called "It's A Holiday Soul Party" and I'm seeing a release date of October 30 on Amazon's digital listing. Though I can't link you to any hard copy pre-order spots just yet, it's Dap Tone...so there will almost certainly be both CD and Vinyl. 11 tracks, including all of Sharon's previous Christmas music (yes, even that "White Christmas" jam that was only a video last year). Additionally, Binky Griptite's "World Of Love" has been included. So that leaves better than half the album that's completely brand new. And (from the samples at least) it's all every bit as good as we dared not dream it could be.
Sharon goes to church on "Silver Bells", does Charles Brown proud on "Please Come Home For Christmas", and channels Ray Charles on "Silent Night". "Funky Little Drummer Boy" sounds like a late 60s Chess Records single release. And "8 Days of Hanukkah", smooth mid-70s soul, might be the best thing to happen to that holiday since the invention of the latke.
If I were you (or if you were me), I'd be checking the Dap-Tone site EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. from today until the pre-order goes live. Sort of like camping out for concert tickets. Just sayin'.
2. Glow - MoZella
3. 12 Days of Christmas - Map The Stars
4. Count Down to Xmas - Kathryn Ostenberg
5. A New Time - Lucy & The Cloud Parade
6. O Christmas Tree - Tim Myers
7. More Than I Wished For - FM Radio
8. All The Wonder - El May
9. We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Kathryn Ostenberg
10. A Magical Season - Tim Myers
11. The Wish List - Serengeti & The Unknown
12. This Holiday - Map The Stars
13. Winter Night - The Unknown
14. Ring My Bell - Nicole Vaughn
15. For The Holidays - Tim Myers
Nathan Woodward is a young saxophone player from Pascagoula, Mississippi (normally, I wouldn't mention the town, but who doesn't love saying "Pascagoula, Mississippi"). He's been playing professionally since 1999 (or at least that's the "start date" listed on his Facebook page, which he joined in 2006; jeez, I hope that's not his birth year). He's had a few albums already, "Live From Martin Hall", "Prayer Language" and the eponymous "Nathan Woodward". Needless to say, "Emmanuel" is his first Christmas album.
Primarily a Smooth Jazz artist, Nathan frequently flavors with some of his other influences, including Gospel and R&B. No new songs on the CD and that makes it kind of hard to point to anything specifically. My favorite arrangement was likely "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel'. "We Three Kings" and "Silent Night" were quite nice as well. And the guitar and keyboard players deserve a raise or a bonus or something for their work on the "White Christmas/Christmas Song Medley". Least favorite? "Jingle Bells". Just doesn't fit with the rest of the album, IMHO.
Smooth Jazz fans will like "Emmanuel", which is more adventurous than, say, Kenny G, but not so adventurous as John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman. And, for those who can't wait to get this Christmas party started, you're in luck. "Emmanuel" officially releases on August 21. AUGUST 21!! That's just a tad over a week from now. You can sample the tracks here and pre-order direct from Nathan Woodward here. Ready or not, here it comes.