By John Barron
originally published on All About Jazz.com
With no shortage of holiday music blasting through shopping malls and restaurants this time of year, it’s easy to understand why some might want to escape the incessant bombardment of the overdone and out-of-date. If one looks hard enough, however, hope for Christmas music burnout can be found. One place to look is Origin Records’ The Cool Season: An Origin Holiday Collection, Vol. 2. With fresh and swinging vitality, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop provide an invigorating alternative to the average holiday fare.
The disc’s selections range from familiar, to somewhat obscure, to brand new—Johnson contributes two original pieces. The strength of the session lies in the creative arranging of household melodies. The Vince Guaraldi classic “Christmas Time Is Here” moves along at a brisk 6/8 pulse, contrasting, yet maintaining the spirit of the original. “The Christmas Song” is re-shaped into a dark-tinged, modal frame for Marriott and Anschell to explore patiently.