VAR­I­OUS ARTISTS Jazzy Brass for the Hol­i­days (DBCD)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

This sex­tet ses­sion is led by the ver­sa­tile trum­peter Ed­die Allen. Over the last two decades or so, he has made mu­sic with Art Blakey, Lester Bowie, Bette Mi­dler, and Mongo San­ta­maria and has worked in Broad­way or­ches­tras as well as jazz com­bos small and large. Here, he did all the ar­range­ments and served as pro­ducer. First up is “It Came Upon the Mid­night Clear,” on which the leader and trom­bon­ist Clark Gay­ton state the theme, with a bit of stylish dis­so­nance, be­fore launch­ing into boppy so­los. “God Rest Ye Merry Gen­tle­men” has a cool, stop-and-start ar­range­ment on the fa­mil­iar line, played by Gay­ton. An­other of the disc’s out­stand­ing ar­range­ments is “Hark! The Her­ald Angels Sing,” this one boast­ing so­los by the al­bum’s four horn play­ers, in­clud­ing trum­peter Ce­cil Bridgewater and French-horn player W. Mar­shall Sealy. “Frosty the Snow­man” and “Jin­gle Bells” are en­er­gized by Gay­ton’s com­i­cally sad-sack trom­bone voice. Bassist Kenny Davis and drum­mer Carl Allen pro­vide the bouncy back­bone on “We Three Kings,” a Jazzy Brass high­light. “The Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy” is a real swinger fea­tur­ing ap­pro­pri­ately peppy work by Allen and end­ing in a rather splen­did chaos of jam-band im­prov. Here, for jazz fans, is a real nice way to keep the hol­i­day spirit without suc­cumb­ing to the ch­est­nut faints. — Paul Wei­de­man

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