The Caliban Quartet of Bassoonists has been praised by critics around the world for its brilliant playing, inventive programming, and sunny good humour. Who better to lead you through a varied collection of sparkling Christmas music? Their new CD "Caliban Does Christmas" includes everything from comedy to swing to gorgeous ballads and classics. For this CD, the Quartet is joined by five different singers, two drummers and even a partridge in a pear tree. The queen of vocal comedy herself, soprano Mary Lou Fallis, sings four tunes including a goofy 1957 hit, "Too Fat for the Chimney" and Fred Silver's hilarious "The 12 Days After Christmas." The Quartet is delighted to present their special guest, Canadian folk music legend Valdy, winner of two Juno Awards and holder of four gold records including the huge hit "Play Me a Rock-and-Roll Song". He joins Caliban for the sweet and gentle "The Secret of Christmas" and his own "Secret Santa", written especially for this CD. Two of Canada's finest jazz singers are on board for tunes like "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and the beautiful "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"; Bonnie Brett is a frequent guest of Toronto's finest jazz clubs and Heather Bambrick is a brilliant up-and-comer who was named Jazz Vocalist of the Year at the 2004 National Jazz Awards. Georgian music expert Alan Gasser joins in for a bracing rendition of a traditional Georgian Christmas tune. Cameo appearances by players like jazz trumpet star Guido Basso, trombonist Alain Trudel, trumpeter Guy Few and jazz drummer Brian Barlow round out the collection. A sensational line-up of talent and tunes guaranteed to bring a smile to your Christmas season.
Read a rave review of the CD at
"Where there are bassoonists, there is good humor. In several pieces... musical comedian Mary Lou Fallis has me in stitches.... Heather Bambrick's sensuous and sultry voice is perfect.... There are some other surprises and oddities... that set this album apart from any other Christmas compilation I have ever heard. I cannot imagine a more original Christmas album than this, and it is certain to put a smile on your face." (American Record Guide, November/December 2006)
"A completely crazy, out-of-this-world Christmas CD... A real pick-me-up cocktail." (Claude Saucier in the LCBO magazine, A Bon Verre, Bonne Table, 2005)
"I just don’t know how they can play the instrument as well as they do, with tongues in cheeks... Most of this disc is light and fun but there are more serious tracks. You’d be surprised how well some things work for bassoon quartet, like Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, or selections from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. It’s all expertly played and recorded. Five [stars] out of five." â€" Rick Phillips, Sound Advice, CBC Radio (December 3&4, 2005)
"The Caliban Quartet is pretty handy around these honking musical beasts... My favourites were Tom Lehrer's satirical "A Christmas Carol" and the Fred Silver-written "The 12 Days After Christmas," both sung by Fallis. The Calibans are brilliant in an all-instrumental rendition of the original "Twelve Days of Christmas." The five gold rings? Five cellphone tones. Very funny. There's something here for everybody." -- John Terauds, Toronto Star, Dec.8, 2005
"A perfect balance between traditional pieces, comedy, and surprises." â€" La Scena Musicale, December 2005
"A cheerful and accomplished CD." â€" The WholeNote Magazine, December 2005
"Unbelievably Beautiful!... It is an honour to know musicians of your collective calibre, and to record with you is equally over the moon; this is the finest I've EVER sounded. All God's children need an arranger and producer and engineer like those!... We must now endeavor to get the world hooked on this beautiful, fun, extraordinary CD. Caliban Does Christmas, and the bar has been raised."
(Valdy, Canadian Folksinging Star, September 2005)
"You made a dark and rainy Salt Spring morning shimmer and glow with your wonderful music! I love this new disc, it's a total delight from start to finish, thank you, thank you!" (S. Weeks, British Columbia)