The Season is vocalist Natasha Miller's first album of holiday music. Recorded live at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, with additional studio tracks, it features both Christmas â€œstandards,â€ as well as non-holiday-specific songs that fit â€œthe season.â€ Natasha says, â€œI wanted to pull together a fun, unique, and beautifully arranged collection of songs for people to enjoy, not only during the holidays, but before and after them, too.â€
The album takes off in a New Orleans groove with â€œWhite Christmas,â€ driven by the funky, fun musings of trombonist Adam Theis and drummer Jeff Marrs.
Next comes a bluesy/swinging medley of â€œLet it Snow,â€ â€œRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,â€ and â€œFrosty the Snowman,â€ cleverly compiled by pianist/arranger Josh Nelson.
A solo gospel-piano intro by Josh Nelson opens â€œI'll Be Home for Christmas,â€ and the song finishes fits the holiday vibe perfectly.
Latin-jazz guitarist Steve Erquiaga joins Natasha for the smooth-soul presentation of â€œLittle Drummer Boy.â€
â€œHave Yourself a Merry Little Christmasâ€ swings hard, and features extended solos from saxophonist Rob Roth and bassist John Shifflett.
For â€œThe Christmas Song, â€œ Natasha's warm, understated vocal floats over a sweet samba.
Bright and swinging, â€œSanta Claus is Coming to Townâ€ is playful and cheery enough to chase away the Christmas blues.
The album also includes songs that convey the mood and spirit of the holidays. â€œAs the Years Come and Go,â€ penned by Bobby Sharp, best known for his song, â€œUnchain My Heart,â€ made famous by Ray Charles and features Natasha's lovely vocals and her stellar violin playing.
Next is Natasha's signature haunting, reflective arrangement of â€œMy Favorite Things.â€
From West Side Story, â€œOne Hand One Heartâ€ is delicately introduced with a solo acoustic- guitar of â€œSomewhere,â€ quietly unifying the similar moods and themes of both compositions.
Natasha's father, Martin Miller, makes his debut appearance with a reading of â€œ'Twas the Night Before Christmas,â€ over a smart, improvised musical background by pianist Josh Nelson and drummer Tim Bulkely.
The recording ends with the expert arrangement of â€œAmazing Grace/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/Silent Nightâ€ by Josh Nelson and features Sheldon Brown on soprano sax.
From the Bay Area, Miller has released several albums including the critically acclaimed Don't Move and I Had A Feelin', featuring the music of legendary songwriter Bobby Sharp.