Steve Barta | Twelve Days of Christmas

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United States - Colorado

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Latin Jazz Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Twelve Days of Christmas

by Steve Barta

All of your favorite contemporary Christmas songs performed with a string orchestra. Refreshing and expansive symphonic accompaniment captures the magic and majesty of the holiday season.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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1. O Christmas Tree
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4:45 $0.99
2. The Christmas Waltz
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3:10 $0.99
3. Sleigh Ride
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4:01 $0.99
4. Skating
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2:54 $0.99
5. Linus and Lucy
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2:55 $0.99
6. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
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6:18 $0.99
7. Christmas Time is Here
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4:47 $0.99
8. Silver Bells
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4:11 $0.99
9. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
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3:41 $0.99
10. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting...)
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3:04 $0.99
11. Air On The G String
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4:41 $0.99
12. My Favorite Things
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4:53 $0.99
13. The Twelve Days of Christmas
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3:38 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Off The Beaten Path. Each year, I seek out new holiday music, usually in the jazz and classical realms. There have been several notable releases this year, including offerings by the Nagel-Heyer bunch and Cyrus Chestnut, among others. However, the music that immediately captured my attention this season I found being sold at a local holiday goods offering by the artist himself. I found the artist, Steve Barta, studied and urbane...like I was to find his music.

The Artist Formerly Known As... Steve Barta is a Colorado Springs-based pianist-composer who has been releasing recordings on his Source Music label for the last several years. A longtime associate of flautist Herbie Mann, Barta has released a variety of jazz and seasonal recordings, and returns to the latter genre with Herbie Mann on The Twelve Days of Christmas. Supported by his working trio members, Kim Stone and Ronnie Shaw, and augmented by Mann and Don Griffin on guitar, Barta follows up two exceptional solo piano holiday discs ( That Christmas Feeling and Noel ) and a multicultural extravaganza ( Christmas Around The World ). Twelve Days is the most overtly jazzy of Barta's holiday releases, and that is what makes it so fun.

Mr. Barta employs an exquisitely soft touch and sensibility while steering carefully through the traditional (”O Christmas Tree”, “Sleigh Ride”, and “Let It Snow!”) and more contemporary (”Skating”, “Linus and Lucy”, and “My Favorite Things”). Herbie Mann and Don Griffin join Barta on a decidedly Bossa version of Mel Torme's “Christmas Song”. The playing across board is tasteful. Barta's arrangements are equally tasteful and informed. He judiciously uses his string section to add a down filler to his arrangements, increasing their warmth. This holiday music is worth seeking out and may be acquired from Source Music's website ( http://www.sourcemusic.com/ ) or by writing to Source Music, P.O. Box 1543, Colorado Springs, CO 80901.



Track listing: O Christmas Tree; The Christmas Waltz; Sleigh Ride; Skating; Linus And Lucy; What Are You Doing New Years Eve?; Christmas Time Is Here; Silver Bells; Let It Snow!; The Christmas Song; Air On The G String; My Favorite Things; The Twelve Days Of Christmas. (Total Time: 52:33)

Personnel: Steve Barta: Piano; Kim Stone: Bass; Ronnie Shaw: Drums; Herbie Mann: Flute; Don Griffin: Guitar; And String Orchestra.

~ Michael Bailey


Reviews


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Geoff Aston

The best holiday CD I've ever heard.
The best holiday CD I've ever heard. Barta uses a REAL chamber orchestra with his trio here. Seems nobody uses real strings anymore. His arrangement of "The Christmas Song" with Herbie Mann is the best.
Can't say enough about this one...

Geoff Aston

The best holiday CD I've ever heard.
The best holiday CD I've ever heard. Barta uses a REAL chamber orchestra with his trio here. Seems nobody uses real strings anymore. His arrangement of "The Christmas Song" with Herbie Mann is the best.
Can't say enough about this one...

Wes Gillespie

'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is surely his finest work to date.
Pianist / Composer Steve Barta has released a number of excellent festive albums in the past including 'That Christmas Feeling', 'Noel, A Musical Christmas Card' and 'Christmas Around The World' but his new set entitled 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is surely his finest work to date.
Recorded with strings and some familiar musicians from his previous albums including renowned flautist / producer Herbie Mann, Steve has chosen thirteen classic holiday tunes and blended them with his unmistakable warmth and style.

The arrangements of tracks like 'Skating' with Steve's interplay with flute create a visualization quite appropriate for the subject, a combination of glides and energy whilst 'What are you doing New Year's Eve?' is a melodic piece with strings and you can see yourself sitting at home with friends in front of an open fire and outside the snow is falling on to the earth in the quiet of night. The melodic 'Christmas Time Is Here' takes us on a quiet, unhurried, winter's day journey with a backdrop of real strings (so much richer and expressive than synthesized chorals and manufactured strings).

Steve Barta's playing is excellent throughout the album, clear, precise, warm and his fellow musicians compliment his touch with a passive synergy - from the upright bass of Kim Stone to the subtle brushes of drummer Ronnie Shaw. This is a combination successfully united on many of Steve's previous sets and this familiarity gells so well on classics like 'Silver Bells and ' Air On A G String' (Kim Stone's fretless bass playing sounding like a younger Jaco Pastorius)

Favorites like 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Let It Snow', 'The Christmas Song' have a wonderful jazz and latin feel to them, the former similar in style to tracks from his wonderful 'Blue River' set which also featured flautist Herbie Mann.

My favorite track on an album of excellent festive fare is Rogers and Hammerstein's 'My favorite things' taken from the hit musical 'The Sound of Music' which is a first class arrangement with haunting violins sweeping into the familiar melody and a jazzy interpretation.

The album's title track, 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' highlights the use of strings on the album and is a light hearted, English Country Garden affair full of energy, fun and a perfect ending to a memorable set.

This album has evolved with much care and attention, knowledge and an innate passion for the music. All too often artists will take a familiar song and play it like someone else, which in my opinion defeats the whole purpose, if you can't add anything to an original, leave it alone, but Steve Barta has created a new platform for these classic songs and added his wealth of experience to offer a truly excellent set and highly recommended for this and forthcoming holiday seasons.

Wes Gillespie, music critic for All That Jazz, The Brazilian Music Review, and Sony Jazz

Wes Gillespie

Including renowned flautist Herbie Mann, Steve has chosen 13 classic holiday son
Pianist / Composer Steve Barta has released a number of excellent festive albums in the past including 'That Christmas Feeling', 'Noel, A Musical Christmas Card' and 'Christmas Around The World' but his new set entitled 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is surely his finest work to date.
Recorded with strings and some familiar musicians from his previous albums including renowned flautist / producer Herbie Mann, Steve has chosen thirteen classic holiday tunes and blended them with his unmistakable warmth and style.

The arrangements of tracks like 'Skating' with Steve's interplay with flute create a visualization quite appropriate for the subject, a combination of glides and energy whilst 'What are you doing New Year's Eve?' is a melodic piece with strings and you can see yourself sitting at home with friends in front of an open fire and outside the snow is falling on to the earth in the quiet of night. The melodic 'Christmas Time Is Here' takes us on a quiet, unhurried, winter's day journey with a backdrop of real strings (so much richer and expressive than synthesized chorals and manufactured strings).

Steve Barta's playing is excellent throughout the album, clear, precise, warm and his fellow musicians compliment his touch with a passive synergy - from the upright bass of Kim Stone to the subtle brushes of drummer Ronnie Shaw. This is a combination successfully united on many of Steve's previous sets and this familiarity gells so well on classics like 'Silver Bells and ' Air On A G String' (Kim Stone's fretless bass playing sounding like a younger Jaco Pastorius)

Favorites like 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Let It Snow', 'The Christmas Song' have a wonderful jazz and latin feel to them, the former similar in style to tracks from his wonderful 'Blue River' set which also featured flautist Herbie Mann.

My favorite track on an album of excellent festive fare is Rogers and Hammerstein's 'My favorite things' taken from the hit musical 'The Sound of Music' which is a first class arrangement with haunting violins sweeping into the familiar melody and a jazzy interpretation.

The album's title track, 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' highlights the use of strings on the album and is a light hearted, English Country Garden affair full of energy, fun and a perfect ending to a memorable set.

This album has evolved with much care and attention, knowledge and an innate passion for the music. All too often artists will take a familiar song and play it like someone else, which in my opinion defeats the whole purpose, if you can't add anything to an original, leave it alone, but Steve Barta has created a new platform for these classic songs and added his wealth of experience to offer a truly excellent set and highly recommended for this and forthcoming holiday seasons.