Tuneage Tutelage Music Review - Christmas Times 2...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ah the Christmas & Holiday Season. There has been so much incredible music put out over the years, yet every year more new Christmas albums are released.

Honestly, most tend to be retreads of a small group of songs and they add nothing to your music collection.

Yet, this year we are in receipt of two albums that will make it to our mix for wonderful Holiday Cheer.

What do you get when you put a great vocalist together with a group of musicians who know how to jam and hand them some classic Christmas tuneage? You get Tony Bennett and The Count Basie Big Band and some fine music.

Singing and playing classics such as "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town","O Christmas Tree" and 8 other selections, Mr. Bennett and the Band keep your feet taping the entire time.

The Count Basie Orchestra has kept the classic sound developed by Mr. Basie, you can almost hear him at the keys, the quick finger taps, the flowing notes. The piano is handled by Mr. Monty Alexander on this album and as is noted in the liner notes, he plays in the true Basie style.

As I sat and listened, I could smell the eggnog and hot cider and imagine the silence of the falling snow outside my window, while the tree lights sparkled on the tree.

On "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", we are introduced to Mr. Bennett's daughter Antonia whose voice is just wonderful. She has inherited her dad's jazzy stylings indeed.

Want this album under the tree on Christmas morning, playing on your CD? Just let me know in the comments.

Let me start by saying, I am a Harry Connick, Jr. fan...I have always enjoyed his music. The way he has the ability to mix classic jazz with a modern style. The man has a ton of talent.

This new Christmas album is entitled What A Night is another classic Connick, Jr. work. Fifteen songs of the season and on some you sit back and wonder where the arrangement came from. So different from any other version of the song then you have ever heard.

his version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" is one of a kind. He takes the hymn and makes it a whole new song as only he can do.

Whimsical tunes such as "Zat You Santa Claus" makes you smile as his orchestra comes in slowly and the song builds and builds on the strength of Mr. Connick, Jr's. vocals. The trumpet wah-wah'ing with the use of a trumpet mute answering Mr. Connick, Jr's. call of "Zat You Santa Claus"? each time. A truly fun song.

Mr Connick, Jr. puts a true Naw'leans twist on the classic "We Three Kings". His piano intro is truly special.

As a point of fact, this is the way you would expect to hear all of these songs if you were in the French Quarter on Christmas Eve.

An album that will put a smile on your face during this season, but I could listen to it year round.

Like Mr. Bennett, Mr. Connick, Jr. includes his daughter, Kate, on one song. I love what she does when dad asks her to sing. The holidays are truly a family affair!

Have a hankering for a truly different Christmas treat? Let me know in the comments.

Let's share with y'all the same song from both albums to give you a taste and show the difference, while both are performed by jazz-influenced artists.

The song, "Winter Wonderland"...


Radio Happy Hour
Coming up this week on DR. BLOGSTEIN’S RADIO HAPPY HOUR:
(Live on Tuesday December 9 at 9PM ET and
forever archived at BlogTalkRadio.)

tim_and_tom_cover.jpgRadio Jesus and Dangerous Lee welcome actor Tim Reid and comedian Tom Dreesen.

Alone, Reid, best remembered as Venus Flytrap, the overnight disc jockey on WKRP in Cincinnati, became one of the busiest actors in television as well as a director and producer with his own production studio in Virginia while Dreesen became a stand-up comedian who has appeared scores of times on The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman and who was Frank Sinatra’s opening act for the last 14 years of the singer’s career.

But it was together where the duo made history as the first (and the last) black and white comedy team in the history of show business. They document their less than successful five year run as a duo in Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White and will share their stories with the #1 black and white comedy team on internet radio.

strivealbumartfinal.jpg Also, musician Derick Thompson will visit the Radio Happy Hour.

Thompson is the front man of Strive, a piano-rock band that fuses soaring, meaningful bands like U2 and Switchfoot with the sweeping piano-pop of Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby.

We’ll find out what life is like for a Christian band on the road, whether the band has an agenda with their music and why Thompson says the album’s title cut, “Fire,” is probably the most controversial song he’s ever written.

All that, plus, rapper Hassahn Phenomenon drops by to celebrate the release of his long awaited album, a sneak preview of Dr. Blogstein’s December 23rd interview of Hollywood legend Ernest Borgnine, Vinny Bond sits on his Big Leather Couch to chat live with the listeners, Shawn Amos returns with another GetBack.com Pop Quiz, Justin the Weatherman and we’ll take your calls at 646-652-4804.

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM ET. The Radio Happy Hour Lounge-a live, interactive chat room during show time! It’s the show within the show!

29 Of Your Sparks

  1. Schmoop Says:
  2. I like Tony and I like Harry...but man, most Christmas tunes are so bad. Especially anything new. Such a big celebration, and such bad music.

    Don't get me wrong there have been some good ones, but for the most part...eh? Cheers Vinny!!

  3. Good choices for Christmas voices...

  4. BTW, did I mention that I ADORE HARRY CONNICK, JR.?

    Just checking.

  5. MATT-MAN: As I said in the review, I agree...but you did not tell me if you thought these were good.

    BUD: They most certainly are.

    SONGBIRD: Let me check my notes....yup there it is Songbird ADORES Harry

  6. Dianne Says:
  7. Harry did one of this songs on Letterman recently and he talked about how Kate practiced and studied the lyrics. He had told her she couldn't be on the album just because she was his kid and her reply was that she understood that but what if she did a really good job.

    I thought that was sweet.

  8. Jay Says:
  9. Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. are both great. I love that style of music.

    I listen mostly to The Rat Pack and Dean Martin Christmas CDs.

  10. Apparently my FIRST comment never made it through.

    I said something like:

    I like Harry. I ADORE Harry. I MUST HAVE HARRY.

    Or something like that. *grin*

  11. DIANNE: And she did do a really good job...so there she is!

    JAY: You are a rat-Pack kinda guy...never surprised me

    SONGBIRD: I even went to my moderation page to see if a comment did not make my email, but there was nothing there...so I PRESUMED I had it in my notes (I never really looked though-I made that part up!)
    Hope Hubby does not mind when Harry shows up on your doorstep!

  12. Mimi Lenox Says:
  13. I think Songbird adores him. Not sure but maybe. Send Harry my way.......I'll put on my Santa hat and sit by the fire with him.
    Stranger things have happened.
    Oh yeah.

  14. ...Tony and The Count are the shiz-nat...I listen to the Sinatra Family Christmas Album fron 1967...check it out...

  15. leelee Says:
  16. I love the Tony CD, as I think I commented in an earlier post. As for the Harry Connick..I am a big fan, however I have hesitated in buying the cd, but now that I heard your sample..I am going to get it..

    Thanks as always for sharing the tuneage!


  17. Anonymous Says:
  18. Nice ink you got today at NBT Independent Music!

  19. MIMI: Ummm you realize I can not send the real HARRY your way... I do not have that power...

    PHFRANKIE: I do know the album...and it is great.

    LEELEE: yes, you did mention it and I think you will enjoy Harry's...not sure why you hesitated...HUGS

  20. DOC: Thanks..just wish i had proof-read it before it was published...sheesh!

  21. Patti Says:
  22. I'll take the kids version of Winter Wonderland, it moves so fast, and the brass is good for goose bumps:) I have enjoyed Mr. Connick since his debut CD in 1986 (age 18). It is great to have a modern artist playing swing now (even if we aren't in the 1930s).

    I hope to see Tony Bennett some day(soon). Imagine having a singer and his piano player (Ralph Sharon), playing off each other in a nuanced way, improvising a bit ever time they work together. Again, here, the brass just moves the song along...until you realize the song is dons. I have been listening to his 'Steppin Out' CD with the great Fred Astaire numbers.

    I'm with you, all year long. Great review and samples!

  23. Ralph Says:
  24. Gees in, I forgot to check the Blogger profile (someday I'll learn). To reiterate, I thoroughly enjoy Messrs. Connick and Bennett!

  25. Dana Says:
  26. Have I mentioned that Christmas MUSIC is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world?!?! And Jazz? O.M.G. I've died and gone to heaven!

  27. Patti Says:
  28. I also love Harry Connick Jr. His daughter has inherited some great talent!
    I'm wondering how old she is as I listen to her.

    OK, now listening to the wonderful Tony.

    Thanks for the Yuletide tuneage, Vinny.

  29. Patti Says:
  30. Are you taking requests, kind sir?

    How about "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"?

  31. BeckEye Says:
  32. Wow, Harry fell asleep in the tanning bed, eh?

    I've always thought his version of "Sleigh Ride" was the best one. Love those horns.

  33. PATTI/RALPH: I do like Kate's version...Glad you enjoyed my friend

    PATTI: The REAL PATTI that is! I do not know her age...sorry, but she sounds like a tween or teen to me.
    You asked...you receive my friend...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  34. DANA: Checking my notes, and no this is the first time you have mentioned it!

    BECKEYE: See, I thought maybe the face lift had gone wrong, but decided not to mention it...

  35. Julie Says:
  36. I picked up on a couple cheapie jazz and blues Christmas disks for a buck each! What a steal!

    Bing's White Christmas is the best of the oldies though. I got my dad a Bing ornament that plays that song. Mom gave it back to me this weekend....we sorta cried.

    Good memories though.

  37. Words do not express how much I ADORE Harry Connick. He made When Harry Met Sally.

  38. Travis Cody Says:
  39. As you know, I'm not really a fan of Mr Bennett. But I do enjoy Harry Connick Jr.

  40. JULIE: What a wonderful memory you and mom got to share. Memories, even the sad one's are to be cherished forever my dear friend.

    STARR: But your words DID express how much you care.

    TRAVIS: Yes, I know your feelings about Mr. Bennett...both albums are special

  41. LOVE HIM. And in that movie with Sandy Bullock (who I also adore) he was just to die for. Seriously that man is molten hot to quote Randy. He is talented and gorgeous and busting his ass for his home town of NOLA.

  42. TopChamp Says:
  43. aaaaaaaaaaah. How cute! I like Harry. I want to hear more.

    I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I'm gonna phone the fella and demand my tree RIGHT NOW.

  44. Anndi Says:
  45. Two of my all time fav Christmas songs are "(It must have been Ole) Santa Claus" and "I Pray On Christma"from the "When My Heart Finds Christmas" album.

    Can't trim the tree without it.

    It may be my all time fav Christmas album for that matter...


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