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Christmas at Steinway Hall / Mulligan


Release Date: 10/20/2017 
Label:  Steinway & Sons   Catalog #: STNS30053  
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Lovely Christmas jazz, spare and sad November 20, 2017 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "'Tasteful jazz arrangements', it says on the back cover, but these are much more sophisticated arrangements than you're likely to find at the lounge at the local Sheraton or Marriott Hotel. In a letter to his father Mozart praises a pianist's "taste, feeling, and a brilliant style of playing", and this is the territory we're in here with pianist Simon Mulligan, who gets a fine piano to play on, in a great venue, with first-class engineering and presentation for this lovely disc from Steinway & Sons. The Christmas jazz antecedents here are Oscar Peterson, whose Christmas album is first-class, but quite a bit livelier than this one; Bill Evans, whose Santa Claus is Coming to Town is a treat, full of wit and good humour; and of course Vince Guaraldi, who brought jazz Christmas music to the masses with the debut of A Charlie Brown Christmas on CBS on December 9, 1965. Mulligan has major classical bona fides (Chopin, Beethoven, Shostakovich) and a thorough grounding in the American Songbook to go with what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz piano styles. Listen for bits of Art Tatum, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck, but in these arrangements each song has its mood and its story to tell, so none of them feels like a pastiche. One of my favourite tracks is the first one on the disc, a Hark The Herald Angels Sing that keeps taking completely unexpected turns into surprising places: here to Chopin, there to Scott Joplin, over to Gershwin. There's also a very spare version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas that's a real stand-out, but I especially loved the final song, a Silent Night with a real valedictory feel to it. It has the peace and beauty of falling snow at night, but also all of the melancholy we've come to expect from Christmas songs in a minor key, bringing some solace, but also, as Orhan Pamuk remarks in another context, "adding depth to our sorrow"." Report Abuse
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