Judith Kay | Judith Kay's ChamberJazz™ : Not Your Usual Christmas Album

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Judith Kay's ChamberJazz™ : Not Your Usual Christmas Album

by Judith Kay

Jazzy, warm and mellow take on well-known Christmas carols; unique instrumentation
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Carol of the Bells
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3:18 $1.35
2. Carol of the Birds/ Tango Nuevo
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7:07 $1.35
3. What Child is This?
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6:17 $1.35
4. I Wonder as I Wander
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7:16 $1.35
5. Fum Fum Fum
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2:48 $1.35
6. Away in a Manger
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6:02 $1.35
7. Coventry Carol
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3:35 $1.35
8. Mary Had a Baby
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6:33 $1.35
9. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
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2:14 $1.35
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Judith Kay - Voice/Music Director
Ron Thomas - Piano
Chris Berg - Acoustic Bass
Chuck Holdeman - Bassoon
Tony Miceli - Vibraphone
Recorded February 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1997 at Sonic Studios, Philadelphia
Produced by: David A. McClintock
Engineered by: Sean D. McClintock
Mixed by: Sean D. McClintock & David A. McClintock

This is one of those rare gems that combines innovation and stellar performances in a collection suitable for background music or the undivided attention of listeners.

Vocalist Judith Kay's Not Your Usual Christmas Album features a combination of well- and lesser-known songs, backed by a piano/bass/bassoon/vibes quartet. Unlike numerous albums where jazz performers essentially lend their accent to traditional holiday fare, this is true jazz with the instrumentalists digging in with spice and flair.

Kay's vocals are low-key and somewhat less than virtuosic on what are mostly somber pieces, yet she warms listeners better than most with her clarity and passion - sort of like a Joni Mitchell-type singing political fare for a heartfelt cause.

"I Wonder As I Wander" is a slow, dark tale punctuated by Chuck Holdeman's almost weepy bassoon and pianist's Ron Thomas' simple yet chamber-like melodies on his lower keys. "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" is a 1587 composition that progresses with hymn-like precision and minimalistic performances, which proves advantageous since the quality of the near-solo passages likely top any group harmonic effort. "Fum Fum Fum" and "Mary Had A Baby" are both bouncy tunes that inject a bit of life, with Kay's low-key singing keeping things in character even as her cohorts take advantage to liven up their contributions.

This ranks with Dianne Reeves' Christmas Time is Here as one of the best female vocalist Christmas albums I've encountered this year.

EXCERPT from a 12/04 review by Mark Sabbatini on allaboutjazz.com


Reviews


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Cecilia Vore

Quiet, intimate and contemplative. Beautiful jazz arrangements of unusual carols
This really is NOT your usual Christmas album. It is quiet and even contemplative. The arrangements, including the haunting sound of the bassoon, are beautiful and intimate. Judith Kay's voice is clear and elegant. I especially liked her unusual choice of carols (two from the 16th century). They took me to other times and places. This recording is perfect for the season -- not the flash of a modern holiday season, but the stillness, dark and wonder of winter.