On Little Town: Carols For Christmas, the North Carolina based trio of pianist Grant Osborne, bassist Peter Innocenti and drummer Jeff Crouse combines exhilaration, refreshing authenticity, good swinging musicianship and an aura of charm and charity to a program that thankfully doesn't bulk up on over-familiar Xmas songs. Oh sure, "White Christmas" and "Silver Bells," like favorite ornaments decorating the tree each year, are present, but so are unexpected delights "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day," "Home" and the perfectly acceptable Amy Grant title tune. On the latter two, guest Jeanne Jolly sings confidently. ~ Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat Magazine (December 2010)
This relatively unknown piano trio from Cary, North Carolina has made a solid self-produced album of holiday favorites. With Grant Osborne on piano, Peter Innocenti on bass and Jeff Crouse on drums, this understated trio deftly performs a cross-section of tunes familiar and less so. Singer Jeanne Jolly (what a great name for an appearance on a holiday music album!) joins in on two songs, also in understated fashion. The group came together after meeting at their local church for late night sessions and the music sounds like something that would be acceptable at a Jazz Vespers service. Not that it’s particularly spiritual in theme and tone. After all, they open the album with a lyrical version of “The Chipmunk Song,” and also take on modern classics like “White Christmas” and “Christmas Time is Here,” done here even slower than usual. Elsewhere the focus is indeed on carols and the lyrical quality of the trio fits those like a glove. After an upbeat “Auld Lang Syne” with a New Orleans second line backbeat, the trio closes the album with a Pat Metheny song “Always and Forever,” dedicating it to their wives and families. All in all, a restful and enjoyable piano trio album. ~ Lee Mergner, JazzTimes Magazine (December 2010)
Tasteful piano-bass-drums ensemble work in playful and wistful moods a la Vince Guaraldi (he of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” fame) by Triangle players and, on two cuts, singer Jeanne Jolly. ~ Owen Cordle - News & Observer (2009)
Little Town – The three of us began meeting at our church for late night trio sessions in 2007. Over the past two years we have developed a unique musical rapport, which we hope is evident on this recording. We set out to record fresh versions of familiar and not so familiar Christmas carols. Each track is a joyful song of Christmas, and we give special emphasis to the title track, Little Town, as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The final track, Always And Forever, is dedicated to our wives and our families, for their continued support for our music. We would like to say a very special thank you to Marybeth Childers for making this project possible through her vision and financial support.Thanks to Jeanne Jolly for giving us her superb vocals on Home and Little Town. Thanks to John Shepherd for the awesome cover design. Thanks for the support of our friends at Cornerstone Presbyterian and for the use of the church as a rehearsal space. And thanks to Chris Boerner and everyone at Sound Pure Studios for making this recording a truly pleasant and memorable experience. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy this album for many seasons to come.
Grant, Peter, & Jeff
Grant Osborne - Piano
Peter Innocenti - Bass
Jeff Crouse - Drums
Jeanne Jolly - Vocal (Tracks 2 and 8)
Recorded September 28th and 29th 2009 at Sound Pure Studio, Durham, NC.