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13 Δεκ 2016

Bending Towards the Light - a Jazz Nativity


The Christmas story told through jazz with Dave Brubeck, Tito Puente, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry and others
Genre: Jazz: Swing/Big Band
Release Date: 1995
Quality: Mp3
Bitrate: CBR 320 kbps
Total Time: 1:17:34
Total Size: 177 MB

Tracks
1. Bending Towards the Light - Grady Tate        3:52
2. Introduction - Charles Kuralt                1:29
3. Silent Night - Bob Kindred                3:50
4. Luke 2:7-8 - New York Voices, Maeretha Stewart        2:14   
5. One Star - Bob Galbraith, Milt Grayson            2:06
6. The First Noel - Jon Gordon, Solo            5:12
7. Luke 2:9-13 - New York Voices            2:19
8. Angels We have Heard on High - J. Dodgion, B. Powell    2:54
9. Luke: New York Voices                1:03
10. Bending Towards the Light - Chris Mendez        2:52
11. What Child is This - Jackie Cain and Roy Kral        4:37
12. What Child is This (reprise) - Jackie Cain and Roy Kral    0:18
13. Softly Falls the gentle night - Gail Wynters        6:12
14. Silent Night (reprise) - Bob Kindred            0:24
15. We Three Kings - Jon Faddis, Jimmy Slyde, Tito Puente    7:24
16. Bending Towards the Light (reprise) - Jazz Choir        0:39
17. God's Love Made Visible - New York Voices        4:16
18. Deck The Halls - New York Voices            23:10
19. Closing - Charles Kuralt                0:28
20. John 1:5, Matthew - Jazz Choir            0:49
21. Joy To The World - Orchestra            1:26

5.0 out of 5 stars: Not like being there but it will have to do.
By Samuel C.  on December 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
(I'm raising my rating from 3 to 5 stars after a couple more listens. You may wish to start with the finale, a 30-minute, choreographed, moveable jam session for the ages on "Deck the Halls." I've never heard anything quite like it. Each group arrives at the manger--first saxes, then trombones, then trumpets--and blows the roof off of the stable, outdoing the previous group in its musical offering. And in between the groups are individual pilgrims--Toots Thielmans, Adam Makiewicz, Russell George--with equally spirited offerings.)

Not the usual jazzing up of pop Christmas tunes but a jazz nativity based on the Christmas story of the Gospels (though this did not prevent a Manhattan Rabbi from offering his synagogue for one of the performances), the musical pageant features the likes of Brubeck, Hampton, Puente dressed up as Wise Men, Shepherds, Angels. And as the title suggests, the production was as theatrical and visual as it was musical (veteran tap dancer Jimmy Slyde is one of the "stars"). All of which makes for a great experience for the spectator fortunate enough to have been in attendance (it's not clear to me whether the production, originally suggested by Rev. John Gensel in the middle 1980's and a regular annual event at least through the mid-90's, is still alive). As a recording, the miking is irregular in keeping with the moveable nature of the musical feast, but once each group of pilgrims arrives at the stable, the tuneful offerings are in sharp focus.

Musical highlights include the Grady Tate vocal that introduces the proceedings, Dave Brubeck's swinging hymn (in 5/4, of course), and the marathon "Deck the Halls" (sort of a "Jazz at the Philharmonic" all-star jam session on chord changes remarkably close to Charlie Parker's "Confirmation") that brings the show to a rousing, spirited close, with the trumpets of John Faddis, Byron Stripling, and Lew Soloff soaring into the stratosphere above Bethlehem skies. It's bracing, exhilarating music but certainly not, as another reviewer has stated, "shrill"--unless you're averse to unmuted trumpet virtuosity in the style of Maynard Ferguson, Cat Anderson, Arturo Sandoval, or early Dizzy Gillespie. (This baby Jesus was no Chet Baker or Chris Botti fan.)

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