Mannheim Steamroller is an American neoclassical new-age music group founded by percussionist/composer Chip Davis that is known primarily for its Fresh Aire series of albums, which blend classical music with elements of new age and rock, and for its modern recordings of Christmas music. The group has sold 28 million albums in the U.S. alone.
Mannheim Steamroller began as an alias for record producer and composer Chip Davis. The name “Mannheim Steamroller” comes from an 18th-century German musical technique, Mannheim roller (German: Mannheimer Walze), a crescendo passage having a rising melodic line over an ostinato bass line, popularized by the Mannheim school of composition.
Before the fame of Steamroller, Davis had been best known for collaborating with his friend Bill Fries on the songs of the country music character “C. W. McCall” (of “Convoy” fame). The song was based on the character created by Fries and music composed by Davis for a series of Clio winning ads for Metz Baking Company for their Old Home Bread product. Davis was named Country Music Writer of the Year in 1976, a genre he is not fond of.
Even before the height of McCall’s popularity, Davis produced an unusual album of classical music performed entirely by Davis and musical collaborator and keyboardist Jackson Berkey, using electric bass (played by Eric Hansen) and synthesizers.
Steamroller found its greatest fame beginning in 1984 when Davis released his first holiday album, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, featuring modern contemporary interpretations of Yuletide favorites. This was followed by A Fresh Aire Christmas (1988) and Christmas in the Aire (1995), which showcased creative approaches to old carols, as well as some new carol-like compositions. Steamroller had now become one of the most requested Christmas music artists of all time, in part by adopting a very radio-friendly approach. At the end of 1997, they released a live album of Christmas music, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Live. Their fourth all-new Christmas album, Christmas Extraordinaire, was released in 2001. However, sales of Steamroller’s third and fourth Christmas releases fell far short of the sales of Christmas and A Fresh Aire Christmas. Christmas Celebration, a compilation of favorite tracks from the previous studio albums (with one new song), was released in 2004. The studio album Christmas Song was released in late 2007 and features guest vocals by Johnny Mathis and Olivia Newton-John, but co-founder Jackson Berkey is absent from the lineup. The CD Christmasville was released in 2008. Their next release was a 25th anniversary Christmas box set consisting of previously released material, and in 2011 they released Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony with members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. (wikipedia)
And here´s thier second Christmas album:
A Fresh Aire Christmas takes you back to the roots of a selection of beloved Christmas carols and exposes you to the origins of others, as they were composed and enjoyed around the world. Discover new favorites in the 19th century Ukrainian Carol of the Bells, the 15th century German carol Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming and the Austrian carol Still, Still, Still. Make A Fresh Aire Christmas part of your holiday soundtrack today and bring a little classical Christmas into your home!
12 beautifully performed and meticulously arranged Christmas carols
Delight friends and family with this classical Christmas album that explores the roots of many beloved carols. (press release)
To the outstanding ensemble sound of Mannheim Steamroller, Davis adds the majestic fanfare of a brass choir in this second seasonal recording gem. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” resounds with vibrant glory that only brass instruments can evoke, while the enchanting “Little Drummer Boy” brings us the magic of Santa’s workshop… (by allnusic)
Recorded at Sound Recorder, Omaha; St. Michaels Cathedral, Chicago; Universal Studios, Chicago; The Great Hall Of University College School, London; and The University Of Downstairs.
Jackson Berkey (keyboards)
Ron Cooley (guitar)
Chip Davis (winds, percussion, vocals)
Eric Hansen (lute, trumpet)
Bob Jenkins (oboe)
David Low (cello)
Willis Ann Ross (flute)
John Sharpe (cello)
Mary Walter (harp)
Liz Westphalen (vocals)
Barbara Butler (trumpet)
Charles Geyer (trumpet)
Russ Knutson (percussion)
George Vosburgh (trumpet)
Doug Waddell (percussion)
Charlie Schuchat – Rex Martin
Arnie Roth – Steven Shipps
Charles Vernon – Ed Kocher
Dan Gingrich – David (H.D.) Kappy – Jonathon Boen – Norman Schweikert
Greg Sarchet – Joseph Di Bello – Joseph Guastafeste – Paul Dallas – Stephen Lester
The Cambridge Singers:
Caroline Ashton – Clare Wallace – Donna Deam – Jo Maggs – Mary Mure – Mary Seers – Nancy-Jane Thompson – Simone Chambers
01. Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing 1.27
02. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing 3.28
03. Veni Veni (O Come O Come Emanuel) 4.13
04. The Holly And The Ivy 2.59
05. Little Drummer Boy 4.06
06. Still, still, still 3.39
07. Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming 2.24
08. In Dulci Jubilo 2.45
09. Greensleeves 3.25
10. Carol Of The Bells 3.50
11. Traditions Of Christmas 3.32
12. Cantique De Noel (O Holy Night) 5.18
All songs: Traditional
except 11. written by Chip Davis
“This album was recorded in 5 places on Earth, including and highlighting some of Earth’s finest performers”
The official website: