Agneta Baumann – A Time For Love (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgAfter an absence of nearly ten years from the scene, singer Agneta Baumann makes a welcome come-back. This is a musical self-portrait of artistic stature which is at the same time an open personal statement, as revealing as though the words were spoken in confidence. She presents such standards as “More Than You Know”, “The Party’s Over” and “The Best is Yet To Come”

This is singer Agneta Baumann’s come-back after an absence of nearly ten years from the scene; a musical self-portrait of artistic stature which is at the same time an open personal statement, as revealing as though the words were spoken in confidence.

Up until the middle of the 80’s Agneta Baumann had become established not purely as a jazz singer but more as a jazz-influenced artist-entertainer had in the glamorous environment of late-night dinner/dance restaurants. She was born in the town of Kalmar in south-eastern Sweden where as a youngster she sang in the school choir and as a teenager in the school jazz band, as she happened to prefer Anita O’Day to Elvis Presley. Later in life she also came to appreciate the artistry of Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and Billie Holiday.

AgnetaBaumann02.jpgBut it was not until after some years spent in other working activities that music took a central role in her life. During a period in the travel-agent business in Copenhagen 1965 she began to sing with The Golden Girls, a popular group in the style of The Supremes, and after an engagement in Stockholm 1968 she decided to stay and branch out on her own. During the following years she toured throughout the country and abroad with her own constellation “Agneta Baumanns Orkester”. From the later part of the 70’s she also often sang together with the jazz pianist Knud Jörgensen, who taught her what is perhaps the most important thing of all, that the space between phrases is also music, and that you have to mean what you sing.

In 1986 Agneta’s husband tragically died and in her bereavement a dark shadow of silence fell over her singing career. It wasn’t until the autumn of 1995 that she broke the long silence and began to build up her own forum once again in Stockholm. She established regular late-night sessions under her leadership in restaurant environments, and since March 1996 has been presenting her own “Jazz Corner” every Monday.

And now her genuine feeling for jazz – her original first love, has been given the freedom and opportunity to flourish in the company of select musicians who also join her on this recording.

In some numbers, amongst them “A Time For Love”, the sensitive flute of Staffan Hallgren, known from Pan Trio, can be heard in the form of solos and obligatos. More solo space is given to tenor saxophonist Anders Lindskog, whose CD “Cry Me A River” was issued by Touché Music in 1995. His rich flow of ideas and total concentration lends new dimensions to standards such as “More than You Know”, “Everything Happens To Me” and “The Party’s Over”.

AgnetaBaumann03.jpgPianist Carl-Fredrik Orrje, bass player Per-Ola Gadd and drummer Bengt Stark are all born in the 1960’s. As a rhythm section they distinguish themselves as one of the most vital in Swedish jazz of the 90’s. Carl-Fredrik and Per-Ola are heard as soloists in “That’s All” while each make personal contributions to “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and “Everything Happens To Me”, respectively. Each number receives the finishing touch by way of the subtle embellishment, which characterises Bengt’s sensitive brushwork.

Agneta has a natural way of treating ballads and consequently this is primarily a ballad album. To give her best and most honest interpretations she has chosen only songs for which she feels a personal affinity both with their music and lyrics. She has a special relationship with each song and there is also some thought behind the order in which they are performed.

Agneta’s voice has a greater depth of quality, another timbre than earlier, more experienced, mature and expressive, rich in nuances and emotional levels. Behind the unobtrusive, controlled approach one can sense strong undercurrents of passion and drama. Another distinguishing quality is her natural conception of timing, her personal way of using space between phrases thereby giving weight and meaning to the lyrics and rhythmic buoyancy to the notes.

Absent for far too long, we now at last have the pleasure of experiencing her singing anew. Why wait any longer even if Agneta assures us that “the best is yet to come”?

The repertoire consists mainly of songs from shows, musicals and films although some were written independently.

“A Time For Love” by Johnny Mandel with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster was written for the film “An American Dream” in 1966. In 1939 Hoagy Carmichael composed the melody to a poem by Jane Brown Thompson – “I Get Along Without You Very Well” – but it was not introduced until 1952 in the film “Las Vegas Story”. Richard Rogers’ “He Was Too Good To Me” with words by Lorenz Hart was featured in the show “Simple Simon” from 1930, while Jimmy van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day” with Johnny Burke’s lyrics was written for the show “Carnival In Flanders” in 1953. “More Than You Know”, the oldest song here, was written by Vincent Youmans in 1929 together with lyric writers Billy Rose and Edward Eliscu for the show “Great Day”.

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Three songs are of French origin. “If You Love Me” by Marguerite Monnot and Geoffrey Parsons from 1949 was originally “Hymne à L’Amour” when Edith Piaf introduced it. “The Good Life” by the French-born guitarist Sacha Distel with words by Jack Reardon was the leitmotif of the film “The Seven Capital Sins” from 1962. The waltz “When The World Was Young” from 1950 was composed by M. Philippe-Gerard with words by Angela Varnier, but it was Johnny Mercer who wrote the English lyrics.

Jules Styne’s “I Fall In Love Too Easily” with lyrics by Sammy Cahn comes from the film “Anchors Away” 1945. “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over” was written in 1939 by Allie Wrubel with words by Herb Magidson, while “The Party’s Over” another of Styne’s tunes received lyrics by Betty Comdon for the show “Bells Are Ringing” from 1956. Matt Dennis together with lyric-writer Tom Adair composed “Everything Happens To Me” in 1941. Another of Jimmy van Heusen’s collaborations, this time with Sammy Cahn, produced “All My Tomorrows” for the film “Hole In The Head” in 1959. The two final selections are Cy Coleman’s “The Best Is Yet To Come” from 1959 with words by Carolyn Leigh, and Bob Haymes’ “That’s All” from 1952 with lyrics by Alan Brandt. (Albrekt von Konow/Dave Castle)

Cadence, January 1998:
“Agneta Baumann ….has a husky voice and slow phrasing not unlike Shirly Horn’s way with a ballad. She also knows how to sing with drama, doing some of the most poignant songs in the American and French pop canons with clear, melancholy dignity. There are also a couple of slyly effective uptempo numbers like a finger-snapping ‘The Party’s Over’ with a barrel-cheated tenor solo and Matt Dennis’ sad sack classic ‘Everything Happens To Me’ which is done with understated humor. Saxophonist Anders Lindskog and pianist Carl Orrje set up Baumann superbly throughout, showing as much assurance as she does.”

“This is a lovely recital.”

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Jazz Journal, February 1998:
“There’s plenty of talent around.”

“Fredrik Orrje plays sparkling and sympathetic piano and Staff Hallgren an appealing flute on ‘A Time For Love’ and ‘He Was Too Good To Me’.”

“Lindskog has an attractive, sometimes Lester-like tenor well displayed on ‘Good Life’ and ‘The Party is over’….”

“Baumann moves into Ella mode on ‘The Party is over’, there’s a touch of Billie on ‘Every-thing Happens To Me’ and of Cleo Laine in ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’.”

“Why did we have to wait so long to hear these different aspects of the lady’s talent? The pianist stretches out boppilly on the last track too, as if let of the leash.”

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Personnel:
Agneta Baumann (vocals)
Per-Ola Gadd (bass)
Staffan Hallgren (flute)
Anders Lindskog (saxophone)
Carl Fredrik Orrje (piano)
Bengt Stark (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. A Time For Love (Mandel / Webster) 5.30
02. I Get Along Without You Very Well (Carmichael / Thompson) 2.50
03. He Was Too Good to Me (Rodgers / Hart) 5.11
04. Here’s That Rainy Day (van Heusen / Burke) 4.37
05. More Than You Know (Youmans / Rose / Eliscu) 6.55
06. If You Love Me (Monnot / Parsons) 3.53
07. The Good Life (Distel / Reardon) 4.26
08. When the World Was Young (Philippe-Gerard / Mercer) 3.18
09. I Fall In Love Too Easily (Styne / Cahn) 5.28
10. I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over (Wrubel / Magidson) 3.55
11. The Party’s Over (Styne / Comden / Green) 3.26
12. Everything Happens to Me (Dennis / Adair) 5.51
13. All My Tomorrows (van Heusen / Cahn) 5.08
14. The Best is Yet to Come (Coleman / Leigh) 2.38
15. That’s All (Haymes / Brandt) 4.58

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João Gilberto – Live At Umbria Jazz (2002)

FrontCover1Guitarist/vocalist Joao Gilberto is credited with being the originator of the bossa nova, due to his 1950s affiliation with songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim. Hence, the rest is history. While this recording captures his genius via a solo perfomance at Italy’s “Umbria Jazz” festival in 1996. His easily identifiable sound is intact here, as Gilberto delves into fourteen pieces, composed by Jobim and others. The artist’s wistful, hush-toned vocals and rhythmically charged acoustic guitar work just reaffirms his significance in modern music. He typifies the coolness of Brazil amid his relatively toe-tapping pulses and contrasting melodic interludes. Part of the beauty, resides within his often-lilting harmonic structures, deterministic sense of purpose and understated themes. Gilberto’s sensual demeanor and calming celebration of life hits the mark in a huge way, largely due to his effortless mode of execution and inspiring musical persona. (by Glenn Astarita)

Joăo Gilberto on stage at the sold-out Teatro Morlacchi is at his seductive best, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s whispering. For the appreciative European audience, the singer was more than willing to exercise his vocal chords, express a wide range of emotions, and even produce the occasional vibrato, a taboo for most of his career. Moreover, CD listeners who were forced to crank up the volume in order to hear Joăo Voz e Violăo (2000) will be glad to know that both voice and guitar are captured with excellent clarity on Live at Umbria Jazz.

Gilberto

All the songs on the disc were composed between 1942 and 1963. These 21 years cover Joăo’s formative period, from his childhood in Juazeiro to the early years of his solo career. Eight of the fourteen songs were written by Dorival Caymmi or Tom Jobim, all within a narrow period in each composer’s career. Caymmi is represented with “Rosa Morena” (1942), “Doralice” (1945), “Lá Vem a Baiana” (1947), and “Saudade da Bahia” (1957); Jobim with “Chega de Saudade” (1958), “Desafinado” (1959), “Corcovado” (1960), and “Garota de Ipanema” (1962). The four Caymmi songs had been hits before Joăo recorded them—three were released while he was in his teens. The Jobim songs, on the other hand, were all launched by Joăo himself…  (by Daniella Thompson)

Recorded Live in Perugia, Italy, during Umbria Jazz Festival at Teatro Morlacchi,
July 21st 1996

 

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Personnel:
João Gilberto (vocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Isto Aqui O Que E? (Barroso) 3.17
02 De Conversa Em Conversa (Albes/Barbosa) 2.36
03. Pra Que Discutir Com Madame? (Barbosa/De Almeida) 4.15
04. Malaga (Bongusto) 4.16
05. Estate (Martino/Brighetti) 4.37
06. La Vem A Baiana (Caymmi) 4.45
07. Corcovado (Jobim) 3.56
08. Doralice (Caymmi/Almeida) 2.11
09. Rosa Morena (Caymmi) 3.17
10. Desafinado (Jobim/Mendonca) 7.32
11 Saudade Da Bahia (Caymmi) 2.43
12 O Pato (Teixeira/Silva) 4.26
13 Chega de Saudade (Jobim/ de Moraes) 6.41
14 Garota de Ipanema (Jobim/ de Moraes) 5.17

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Esbjorn Svensson Trio – Plays Monk (1996/2000)

FrontCover1Thelonius Monk was one of the truly great piano geniuses on the international jazz scene.
Esbjörn Svensson is one of the truly great piano talents on the Scandinavian jazz scene.
In some way you knew that they had to meet sooner or later. At last spiritually. And musically.
„Plays Monk“ is the telling title of the CD from 1996 by Esbjörn Svensson Trio (EST).

Ten of the most beloved songs by Monk, from nocturnal, lovingly caressing „`Round Midnight“ to the gay and
sprightly „Rhythm-A-Ning“, gets here a becomingly shining new colour.
In EST we have Magnus Öström on drums, Dan Berglund on double-bass and, of course, Esbjörn Svensson himself, who was an infant when he practically learnt to walk to the sound of „In Walked Bud“.

„My father was and is a great jazz lover. So I was very young when I first came in touch with Monk´s music. He is the kind of composer that cannot be avoided“, says Esbjörn Svensson.
The music of Thelonius Monk is a peculiar mixture of simplicity and and complexity; of larguorous ballads and rhythms turned inside out. The music is a challenge. „You can always give it your personal touch“, explains Esbjörn.

Monk

On „Plays Monk“ you notice this over and over again. EST has for instance made is own interpretation of the classic „`Round Midnight“, complete with a new string arrangement signed Esbjörn Svensson. The haunting string section is played by four members of the Swedish radio Symphony Orchestra.

Both Monk and EST have a common determination to go beyond the sometimes rather narrow items of jazz music. This is noticeable if we take a look at the musical past of the trio, who has played with such diverse luminaries as Rebecka Trnkvist, Nisse Landgren, Svante Thuresson, Lisa Nilsson and Louise Hoffsten.

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This is definitely a trio who seeks challenges; who wants to try the unexpected. And the spirit of Monk is certainly here, hovering over the recordings that were made together with a producer we do normaly not connect with jazz:
Johan Ekelund, who is probably most wellknown as one half of the successful soulpop duo Ratata.
„He brought fresh ideas into this project. I certainly hope we can record together gaian“, said Esbjörn, who doesn`t want to label himself as ab inventerate jazz purist. Soul and pop is often playd at home, when Esbjörn Svensson himself is there. (taken from the offical press release)

Some press clippings:

“Esbjörn Svensson, doubtlessly the leading pianist in the young Swedish great pianist generation, takes his trio EST into Monk’s world in a congenial way. “ (Sven Malm, Svenska Dagbladet.)

“A giant musicality – to just take something and play it, make it natural and splendid, just like the already legendary trio with Dan Berglund (contrabase) and Magnus Öström (drums) now does with ten well chosen tracks by Thelonious Monk”. (Johannes Cornell, Dagens Nyheter.)

E.S.T at the Barbican

“This glimmering and since many years teamworking trio does really personal interpretations of ten Thelonious Monk-compositions. The rhythmic puls is tangible as is the joy. Esbjörn Svensson’s ingenious and clever piano playing is very strong here, as is Dan Berglunds brilliant bass. Magnus Öström’s drumming is as always very good
and musical. (Björn Borgström, Dagens Industri.)

After all, the album is called „Plays Monk“ – a meeting between talent and geniality. The result? „Rhythm-ANing“, pure and simple!

Recorded by Åke Linton and Johan Ekelund at Swedish Radio, Studio 9, January 1996

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Personnel:
Dan Berglund (bass)
Magnus Öström (drums)
Esbjörn Svensson (piano)
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Tracklist:
01. I Mean You 6.43
02. Criss Cross 548
03. Round Midnight 6.11
04. Bemsha Swing 7.19
05. Rhythm-A-Ning 4.01
06. In Walked Bud 6.37
07. Little Rootie Tootie 4.06
08. Eronel 4.56
09. Evidence 5.03
10. Crepuscule With Nellie 6.40

All compositions by Thelonious Monk

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Piero Odorici feat. Steve Ellington – Panarea (1996)

FrontCover1Piero Odorici represents one among the most clever new european Jazz’s young talent. Born in Bologna (Italy) in 1962 , he had his first approches with saxophone when he was ten years old . After classical studies he improved his jazz technique under the Sal Nistico and Steve Grossman’s guide, two between the most great modern Jazz’s saxophone players, and took part to workshops with Mal Waldron, Barry Herris and Joe Handerson. Piero Odorici began early his professional career having the opportunity to perform as member and as sideman of several european and foreign groups with tours in all the word (Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Finland, Canada….) and appear in radio and TV shows.

Among various collaborations : Ray Mantilla, Ben Riley, George Cables, Jimmy Cobb, PieroOdorici01Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins, Sal Nistico, Steve Grossman, Slide Hampton, Eddy Henderson, Red Rodney, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steve Lacy, Jack Walrath, Elliot Zigmund, Gloria Gaynor, Steve Ellington, Steve Gadd, Jack McDuff, Mingus Big Band, Luciano Pavarotti, George Michael and many other. In May 2000 Odorici makes an american tour with an own band playing in famouses Clubs in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. with Ray Mantilla & George Cables Quartet. He took part to numerous important Festivals like Umbria Jazz (Italy), Grande Parade du Jazz (Nice-F), Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), Salonicco Jazz (Greece), Porretta Soul Festival (Italy), Pavarotti and Friends 2000 (Italy). He recorded with : Jack McDuff, Steve Grossman, Ray Mantilla, Jack Walrath, Steve Ellington, Eddie Henderson, George Michael, Luciano Pavarotti and some other.

Here´s an early Album by Piero Odorici featuring Steve Ellington:

Bradford Steven “Steve” Ellington (July 26, 1941, Atlanta – March 22, 2013, Montgomery, Alabama) was an American jazz drummer.
Ellington picked up drums when he was four years old and played with Ray Charles when he was nine. In the latter half of the 1950s he played with Charles Brown, George Adams, and Duke Pearson. He studied for one year at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1961-1962, where he played with Sam Rivers, then worked with June Christy, Joe Castro, and Hampton Hawes. He began playing with Roland Kirk in 1964, with whom he would perform and record through 1970; aside from Kirk, he played as a sideman himself with Jackie McLean, Chet Baker, Stanley Turrentine, and Mose Allison. Concomitantly, he led his own band in 1965-1966, whose sidemen were Woody Shaw, Walter Davis, Jr., Wilbur Ware, and C. Sharpe.

Steve Ellington
In the 1970s Ellington worked with Billy Eckstine, Brick Jazz Funk Fusion, Hampton Hawes, Art Farmer, Freddy Cole, Freddie Hubbard, Ike Isaacs, Maxine Sullivan, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Dan Wall. He returned to work with Rivers in the period 1980-1982, played with Sonny Stitt and Dave Holland, then put together a new ensemble of his own, which was active from 1985 to 1990. He was the drummer for Michel Petrucciani’s trio from 1988 to 1990, and in the 1990s worked with Hal Galper, Steve Grossman, James Moody, and Johnny Griffin. (by wikipedia)

And we can hear a real superb jazz-Album … I guess this Album is a must for every Jazz-fan !

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Personnel:
Marc Abraham (bass)
Paolo Birro (piano)
Steve Ellington (drums)
Piero Odorici (saxophone)
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Tracklist:
01. Detour (Abrams) 4.38
02. To Ela (Odorici) 7.34
03. É Preciso Perdoar (Jobim) 5.23
04. All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm (Kahn) 3.00
05. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (Porter) 6.44
06. Beatrice (Rivers) 6.05
07. Neon (Birro) 5.53
08. Panarea (Odorici) 7.08
09. Luise (Abrams) 5.44
10. All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm (Kahn) 3.41

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996)

frontcover1Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the debut album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

It was released on October 15, 1996, and is the first album in their “Christmas trilogy”, with The Christmas Attic (1998) and The Lost Christmas Eve (2004) coming after it. All three albums, as well as their The Ghosts of Christmas Eve DVD, were featured in the The Christmas Trilogy box set.

The story is about a young man who wanders into a bar on Christmas Eve where he encounters a mysterious old man who tells him a tale about the magical effect of Christmas Day on the human race. The album takes familiar classical pieces and adds to them new songs and arrangements from both classic and progressive rock influences for which the group is known. The album also contains a mix of vocal and instrumental songs. The primary musicians on the album are all members of the progressive metal band Savatage (Paul O’Neill, the producer of the album, is Savatage’s longtime producer). Jon Oliva, one of the principal songwriters on the album, is also a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and original vocalist in Savatage. (Oliva is also the voice of Mephistopheles on Beethoven’s Last Night.) Cover art created by Edgar Jerins.[2]

As of November 2014, Christmas Eve and Other Stories was the ninth best-selling Christmas/holiday album in the United States during the Nielsen SoundScan era of music sales tracking (1991 – present), with sales of 3,430,000 copies according to SoundScan.[3]

On November 28, 2011, Christmas Eve and Other Stories was certified Triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of three million copies in the United States.(by wikipedia)

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What would happen if members of Savatage decided to write some Christmas songs? Easy: Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This “supergroup” is the brainchild of Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill (respectively the leader-keyboardist and the producer of Savatage). They hired Al Pitrelli (Asia, Savatage) to play guitars, Robert Kinkel to help with keyboards, John Middleton (also a member of Savatage) on bass, and Jeff Plate on drums. Lead vocals are shared by six vocalists, while some of the backing vocals are handled by Savatage lead singer Zachary Stevens. Christmas Eve and Other Stories is a concept album: all the songs are built as chapters of a book, each telling part of a larger story. The plot here is of a young angel sent down to Earth to find and bring back to the Lord “the one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of this day.” The angel’s quest takes him all over the world, through Russia and Sarajevo, until he finally hears the prayer of a father. This last piece is the strongest moment on the album and makes for a miniature story within the larger story.

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It is basically told in a trilogy of songs: in the first, “Ornament,” we hear the father’s prayer, explaining how he hasn’t seen his daughter in many years. In “Old City Bar,” the angel finds the daughter, standing alone outside a bar, and talks to the bartender who, out of a random act of kindness, takes all the cash from his register drawer and gives it to the girl so she can go home. The third song, “This Christmas Day,” has the father praising God, thanking him for bringing his daughter back to him on this night of all nights. It is a very touching story, pondering the thought that “If you want to arrange it/This world you can change it/If we could somehow make this/Christmas thing last/By helping a neighbor/Or even a stranger.” Musically, the band has taken some traditional Christmas songs (“O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Holy Night,” “The First Noel”) and mixed in some modern rock music. The result is stunning and very impressive. It is filled with energy that simply blows you away. The already classic “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” is a gripping instrumental based on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” (although you might have to listen carefully to hear it). Fans of progressive music should like this one. And if you’re into the more recent works of Savatage (like Handful of Rain or Dead Winter Dead) you’ll really love this. (by Alex S. Garcia)

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Personnel:
Robert Kinkel (keyboards)
Johnny Lee Middleton (bass)
Jon Oliva (keyboards, bass)
Paul O’Neill (guitar)
Al Pitrelli (leadguitar, bass)
Jeff Plate (drums)
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Solo vocals:
Zak Stevens – John Margolis – Marlene Danielle- Michael Fawcette – Thomas Faresse – Ken Williams – Babi Floyd

gackground vocals:
Zak Stevens – Nancy Jackson – Peggy Harley – Latasha Spencer – Danielle Lander – Jeffrey Stackhouse – Timothy Carosi – Peter Valentine

Child choir conducted by Anthony Piccolo:
Joseph Murray – Adrian Ross – Nigel Tangred – Warren Wilson – Beth Butler – Cabiria Jacobson – Rachel Rosenfield – Caroline Ross

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Chris Caffery (guitar on 08.)
John Clark (french horn)
Mary Wooten (cello)

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Tracklist:
01. An Angel Came Down (Gruber) 3.57
02. O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night (instrumental) (Wade/Oakeley/Reading/Adam/Dwight/O’Neill/Kinkel) 4.19
03. A Star To Follow (O’Neill) 3.49
04. First Snow (instrumental) (O’Neill) 3.53
05. The Silent Nutcracker (O’Neill) 2.22
06. A Mad Russian’s Christmas (Tchaikovsky/Kinkel/Oliva) 4.42
07. The Prince Of Peace (Mendelssohn/Wesley/O’Neill) 3.33
08. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 (O’Neill/Kinkel/Oliva) 3.25 (*)
09. Good King Joy (Mason/Kinkel/O’Neill) 6.36
10. Ornament (O’Neill/Oliva) 3.37
11. The First Noel (Traditional) 0.55
12. Old City Bar (O’Neill) 6.18
13, Promises To Keep (O’Neill/Kinkel/Oliva) 2.41
14. This Christmas Day (O’Neill/Oliva) 4.20
15. An Angel Returned (O’Neill/Oliva) 3.52
16. O Holy Night (Adam/Dwight) 2.39
17. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) 1.16

(*) = (same recording released in 1995 by Savatage)

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Various Artists – An Easy Christmas (2001)

frontcover1This is just a sampler, full with 20 old and classic christmas songs, performed by many stars in the easy listening style.
You can hear singers like Don McLean, David Bowie, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Perry Como and Al Green.

“This is my most favourite christmas album ever-I had to order a second copy as the first had a scratch on. I listen to it all the time. Not your average Christmas album!”(by miss r aughton)

“Great to listen to while wrapping presents” (by Zoe Bell)

And I guess, I will play this album (amongst others) on December 24, 2016 … Enjoy this romantic and sentimental sampler.

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Tracklist:
01. Andy Williams: Most Wonderful Time Of Year (2001) (Pola/Wyle) 2.34
02. Nat King Cole: Christmas Song (1963) (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (Tormé/Wells) 3.14
03. Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby (1953) (Javits/Springer) 3.26
04. Dean Martin: Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow (1965) (Cahn/Styne) 1.58
05. Judy Garland: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1944) (Martin/Blane) 2.45
06. Harry Belafonte: Mary’s Boy Child (1957) (Hairston) 2.59
07. Bing Crosby: White Christmas (1954) (Berlin) 3.04
08. Al Green: Silent Night (1963) (Gruber/Mohr) 3.19
09. Crystal Gayle: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer (1996) (Marks) 2.57
10. Anne Murray: Snowbird (1978) (MacLellan) 2.11
11. Don McLean: Winter Wonderland (1991) (Bernard/Smith) 2.54
12. Charles Brown: Please Come Home For Christmas (Christmas Finds Me Oh So Sad) (1961) (Brown/Redd) 3.18
13. Doris Day: I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1964) (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 2.27
14. Andy Williams: Sleigh Ride (live) (2001) (Anderson) 2.22
15. Crystal Gayle: Silver Bells (1996) (Livingston/Evans) 4.09
16. Don McLean: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1991) (Coots/Gillespie) 3.06
17. Perry Como: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1959)(Traditional) 2.56
18. Al Green: What Christmas Means To Me (1963) (Story/Gaye/ Gordy) 3.44
19. Bing Crosby + David Bowie: Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (1977) (Fraser/Grossman/Alan Kohan/Simeone/Davis/Onorati) 2.38
20. Michael Ball: Happy New Year (1999) (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 4.18

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Diana Krall – All For You – A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio (1996)

frontcover1All for You – A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio is the third studio album by Canadian singer Diana Krall. It was released on March 12, 1996 by Impulse! Records and GRP Records in tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio.

Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as “I’m an Errand Girl for Rhythm,” “Frim Fram Sauce,” and “Hit That Jive Jack.” Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber “I’m Through With Love” and “If I Had You.” Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of “Hit That Jive Jack,” although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall’s vocal on “If I Had You,” and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds. (by Scott Yanow)

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Nat King Cole

After buying and enjoying her next two albums (Love scenes and When I look in your eyes), this one came as a surprise to me – but what a pleasant surprise. Like Jeri Southern, a brilliant singer-pianist of an earlier generation, Diana began as a pianist but was obliged to sing as well in order to get work. On this album, recorded when Diana was still unknown, Diana’s piano is very prominent. For those who enjoy hearing Diana singing love songs, there are plenty here, but there are upbeat songs to give more variation than you will find in the other albums I mentioned.
Yet, this is all achieved with very few musicians. Russell Malone on guitar and Paul Keller on bass accompany Diana singing and playing piano. On most tracks, that’s it. Steve Kroon plays percussion on Boulevard of broken dreams, while Benny Green plays piano on If I had you, leaving Diana (for that track only) to just sing.

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Diana Krall Trio

You have to be good to deliver an album of such quality with so few musicians (especially without a drummer), but Diana and her musicians prove that it can be done. While I did not find this album as instantly appealing as her next two (perhaps because it was not what I expected), it is one that grows on me each time I play it.(by  Peter Durward Harris)

Wow! Krall truly shows her piano and vocal skills on this one. She really is a genius when it comes to melding jazz and the blues. I hope she’ll do more stuff like this CD in the future. I’m so glad I got this one although I’m a bit late to the party so to speak. But, for me, this one is truly a keeper! I love to play it while having friends over for dinner. My guests have really enjoyed listening/discovering her music and talent. (by Phat Stripperon)

What a brilliant album !

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Personnel:
Paul Keller (bass)
Diana Krall (vocals, piano)
Russell Malone (guitar)
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Benny Green (piano on 12.)
Steve Kroon (percussion on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. I’m An Errand Girl For Rhythm (Cole) 2.55
02. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You (Redman/Razaf) 4.07
03. You Call It Madness (Dubois/Conrad/Columbo/Gregory) 4.37
04. Frim Fram Sauce (Ricardel/Evans) 5.01
05. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Dubin/Warren) 6.27
06. Baby Baby All The Time (Troup) 3.36
07. Hit That Jive Jack (Alston/Tolbert) 4.16
08. You’re Looking At Me (Troup) 5.33
09. I’m Thru With Love (Malneck/Kahn/Livingston) 4.26
10. Deed I Do (Rose(Hirsch) 3.32
11. A Blossom Fell (Barnes/Cornelius/John) 5.13
12. If I Had You (Shapiro/Campbell/Connelly) 4.55
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13. When I Grow Too Old To Dream (non-US bonus track) (Romberg/Hammerstein II) 4.35

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