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Bebop Spoken There

James Francies: "Jazz needs more people who are being themselves and not being shaped into what came before." - (DownBeat November 2020)

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12,127 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1267 of them this year alone and, so far, 109 this month (Nov. 25).

Saturday November 28

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - PETER MORGAN & KATE O'NEILL

Thursday, November 22, 2018

CD Review: Jake Ehrenreich w. The Roger Kellaway Trio - A Treasury Of Jewish Christmas Songs

Jake Ehrenreich (vocals); Roger Kellaway (piano); Bruce Forman (guitars); Dan Lutz (bass); Kevin Winard (percussion)
(Review by Ann Alex)

It had to happen eventually, even to an award-winning jazz blog – the first of the seasonal CDs up for review. After hearing the album, I decided I didn’t mind at all. Any possible irritation with being reminded yet again of the time of the year etc was soon lost on hearing this well known, top class, trio, with a singer whose voice has shades of Nat King Cole, giving performances of songs that you never dreamt were written by Jewish songwriters although, in retrospect, you realise most of the standards were!.

Jake Ehrenreich grew up in Brooklyn, a Jewish child of Holocaust survivors. He first had the idea for the CD 10 years ago. The songs range from White Christmas and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer to less well-known numbers such as The Christmas Waltz and Christmas Time Is Here. The quality of the musicianship, especially the piano and bass solos, adds interest to the songs, and there are plenty of memorable lyrics. For instance, in The Christmas Waltz: ‘This song of mine in three-quarter time’ or in Winter Wonderland: ‘We’ll frolic and play the Eskimo Way’.

Each song is listed with the year of the song, the full names of the composer and lyricist and their original Jewish names. So, for instance, we have White Christmas (1942), music and lyrics by Irving Berlin (born Israel Isador Berlin). Lack of space prevents me from listing all of the details.

The other songs, some of which are new to me, is: Holly Jolly Christmas; Let It Snow; Christmas Time Is Here; Home For The Holidays; Christmas Love Song; Home For Christmas; Silver Bells; It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year; The Christmas Song.

Home For The Holidays is typically American, with a ‘travelling along’ sound to the music, lyrics about pumpkin pie, and amusing lines such as ‘from Atlantic to Pacific, Oh the traffic is horrific’. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1943) brings a touch of sadness, with ‘I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams’. The CD as a whole works as a tribute to the massive contribution made by Jewish musicians and songwriters to the American music scene.

Jake Ehrenreich is also an author and playwright who has performed with many other artists including Whitney Houston. He was inducted into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame in 2016. Roger Kellaway is a Grammy Award winner and has recorded over 250 albums and film scores. The CD was released on  November 2. See www.jakeehrenreich.com
Ann Alex    

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