Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sing a Kris Kringle Jingle

Playing right now: Some anonymous Christmas Brass record that I had when I was a kid.

This is a cassette I made of the album a few years ago. The original record is in no shape to be played, so putting it on tape was the only solution back then. Maybe someday soon I'll put it on disc.
This isn't chamber brass Christmas songs. This record probably came out in the late '60s and has a very pop-rock backbeat feel to it, along with brassy arrangements that sort of bring Herb Alpert to mind, in tone not in feeling. Plus there's a lot of marimba and xylophone. I've been thinking of this record all week at work. The tape just happened to be sitting here next to the computer, probably having sat there for the last 11 months, so playing it was a natural.

The version of "Jingle Bells" has a solid beat, a walking bass line and more of that great marimba. Along with the classics (a Floyd Cramer/Roger Williams-style version of "Silent Night" in 4/4) there are originals with titles like "Sing a Kris Kringle Jingle" and "Mama Santa's Surprise," the latter including some great trombone-plunger mute action.

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If I could stay at home and do nothing but listen to CDs for, oh.....a week, I'd be happy. I have too much I want to listen to. And I don't mean put-on-while-I-do-the-dishes listening, I mean really listen to: get to know, start music to memory. Between things people have lent to me, promo releases and stuff I've bought, there's too much. Charles Tolliver and Steve Kuhn both have new things out on Blue Note and I haven't gotten to either one yet. I finally listened this week to a CD I got from trombonist Brian Allen that he did with Tony Malaby (tenor) and Tom Rainey (drums), which is pretty free and pretty interesting. And I'd like to post a review of it here sometime soon. Which, again, requires that I get to know it.

But then Tim Berne's new double CD with Big Satan just showed up this week. JazzTimes also sent me a package of stuff they want me to review.

A couple of weeks ago I bought Andrew Hill's A Beautiful Day which I've been meaning to get for a while. It was a session with a larger group and it was also the disc that seemed to really stir up renewed interest in him.

Plus I want to get back to that Odean Pope disc from a few months ago. Oh yeah, in case you thought I've totally forsaken all non-jazz music, I have a copy of the latest Pernice Brothers album waiting for me at Paul's. And I'd like to check out the Naysayer's new album again. I reviewed it for Harp and it's now on the "stuff I reviewed" pile, most of which I don't get back to, out of time and an ongoing quest for new music.

I don't like to think of this music as disposable. But there is this quest when writing about music to say, "Next!" as soon as you're done with one release, knowing that another one is sure to be on the way or is sure to be discovered in a used bin somewhere near you. When I worked at Pulp, opening the mail was always the most exciting part of the day because I never knew what musical excitement was waiting in the morning's pile. What would join the pile on my desk or the upcoming shows box, and what would wind up in the pile of CDs that would languish in the corner?

So much music, so little time. It's too bad more people don't release albums like this Christmas Brass album (I think they were called the Monterey Brass, I'm not sure): at about 35 minutes long at the very most, I could easily spin another disc after this is over adn still get to bed by two.

But it's off to bed soon.

17 comments:

Tab said...

I have that LP...a favorite. I tracked down a mint copy of it and now it exists on CD. :)

shanleymusic said...

You mean you burned it onto a CD or you found a CD of it? One of these days I might take the record and burn it to CD, surface hiss and all.

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