Jane Monheit, The Merriest, Club 44 ***

Down the Christmas album route before and yet it is a long time, some 17 years, since The Season. Released at a time in singer Jane Monheit's swinging jazz cabaret style career when Monheit was as lauded as Diana Krall years earlier 'Moonlight in …

Published: 28 Dec 2022. Updated: 32 days.

Down the Christmas album route before and yet it is a long time, some 17 years, since The Season.

Released at a time in singer Jane Monheit's swinging jazz cabaret style career when Monheit was as lauded as Diana Krall years earlier 'Moonlight in Vermont' was the pick of The Season. Here it is 'What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?' winning out in 2022. Its laconic playfulness is pitched perfectly and so neatly arranged.

John Pizzarelli duets on 'That Holiday Feeling' and the blend works as well as Steve and Eydie in the 1960s. Cherry pick mercilessly as Christmas albums may otherwise bring you out in a rash. And this year's goodwill currency is fast running low on time as the snow songs pile up almost to the height of the deathly east coast drifts on the news. Highly anachronistic stylistically but that's part of the point Monheit's voice as on last year's Come What May is as fine an instrument as ever. No animals or even cuddly toys were harmed in the making of this Christmas album and yet The Merriest stubbornly even bearing in mind the inevitable snow globe cutesiness of it all refuses to jar. Jane Monheit, photo: Twitter

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Tags: ALBUMS

Trondheim Voices, Christian Wallumrød, Gjest Song, Hubro ***

You certainly discern a sense of the mystic and a stillness listening. Rather than a choral effect where individuality is all here it's far more interestingly group-think at play channelled by the Trondheim Voices building on work performed and …

Published: 28 Dec 2022. Updated: 32 days.

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You certainly discern a sense of the mystic and a stillness listening. Rather than a choral effect where individuality is all here it's far more interestingly group-think at play channelled by the Trondheim Voices building on work performed and developed from quite some time ago and recorded here in 2020. And with only a small leap of the imagination Gjest Song becomes a single sound spread over 10 tracks. 'Bygda Triads' is the most conventional perhaps. But again the harmonies even on this piece are a team of sound and outcome is all. Christian Wallumrød's music which the voices interpret can be austere. But that feeling isn't present at all here given its special aura. 'Urte Garden' comes over quite avant-garde, like something Terry Riley might have toyed with. Elsewhere particularly on 'Sol Sway' a sense of landscape unveils itself to place the human voice in lock step with the elements that surround us all. And that is perhaps why the album - not written in any kind of obviously jazz idiom that has a beat or a groove or at all by the way - at a fundamental level works so well.

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