CD Review: The Cool Season: An Origin Holiday Collection, Vol. 2

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this time of year, it’s easy to understand why some might want to escape the incessant bombardment of the overdone and out-of-date.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.
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Gail Pettis CD Review

Jazz Times writer and Yakima resident Doug Ramsey recently reviewed vocalist Gail Pettis’ new CD on his blog, Rifftides:

Gail Pettis, May I Come In? (OA2). In her recording debut, the Seattle singer chooses a mixture of familiar standards and less-well-known songs, delivering them with warmth and intelligent interpretation. Pettis concentrates on serving songwriters’ intentions, but her delighted treatment of Jimmy McHugh’s “I Just Found Out About Love” includes one of two scatting episodes in the collection. She scats with musicianly understanding of harmony. There is not a lot of that going around among singers. Pettis gives “Black Coffee” its bluesy due but avoids the affected emotion with which many singers are tempted to smother the song.

In “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face,” bassist Jeff Johnson, with his customary strength and sensitivity, is the singer’s sole accompanist. “We’ve Met Before” is a duet between Pettis and pianist Randy Halberstadt. With this lovely song, Halberstadt may have composed a new standard. He and Johnson are on half of the tracks. On the other half, Darin Clendenin is the pianist, Clipper Anderson the bassist, Pacific Northwest stalwarts in good form, as is Mark Ivester, who plays drums throughout. Pettis keeps her considerable vocal power in reserve, using it with restraint and taste. In the burgeoning population of new singers, she is a standout.

Daniel Barry CD Review

Daniel Barry’s new CD, Walk All Ways (OA2 Records), was recently reviewed at AllAboutJazz.com

“The music this globally borderless chamber-like group makes can sound old world, folk song European one moment—with its sweet, expansive accordion washes dancing with the more succinct violin notes on “Nini’s Dream”—or darkly South American the next, on “La Folia Lando,” that opens with a despondent bass clarinet cry in front of an accordion drone, later joined by the rich cello tone and the low resonance, knock-on-the door sound of the Peruvian cajon behind Barry’s tangy-yet melancholic cornet rumination.”

Read the complete review at:
AllAboutJazz.com