Chris Ho

 

 

Christmas Jam

Ho, Ho Ho. Christmas is coming soon. All Christmas freaks will be delivered with hundreds of Christmas albums. The Smooth Jazz fans will not starve: Herb Alpert's Christmas Album, David Lanz's Christmas Album, Shakatak's Christmas Album, Various Artists' Making Spirits Bright, Dave Koz and friends' Smooth Jazz Christmas, Michael McDonald 's In the Spirit: a Christmas Album, Kirk Whalum's Christmas Message, Tom Grant's Santa Claus Is Going To Town are only those albums, which come immediately into my mind. 

Chris Ho didn't hesitate to offer his Christmas work too. Christmas Jam is the title of his new album. Great artists like Phil Upchurch, Michael O'Neill or Hubert Laws support the success of this album with their contribution.

The album starts with Holiday Romance, a swinging tune revealing  Patti Henley's dreamy voice. After the first verse all musicians are soloing on with sax, flute, guitar. Much improvisations, true jazz.

Away In A Manger, a traditional Christmas melody in a new swinging interpretation. You listen to Chris Ho 's piano play in top condition. Also impressing Dr. Matt van Benschoten's melody recitation on acoustic bass.

Another traditional Angels We Have Heard On High in an uptempo straight-jazz interpretation. Outstanding Hubert Law's soloing on flute. Chris Tedesco takes over the torch on trumpet. What a surprising moment: the choir in the end of the song.

Christmas in June is the next vocal island with an awesome duet between Patti and Robert Henley.

This Christmas Day song by Tata Vega is a slow burner creeping under your skin. Tata can intonate so intimately.

X Mas Jam, the title song is exactly what the title promises. 6:28 are enough time for inspiring solos. Mentioning one artist would be an insult to the others, because all artists are playing in such a mesmerizing manner, that the song is a high-pleasure. Any way Michael O'Neill, this well-asked sideman on hundreds of albums, showcases his outstanding position as superior guitarist again. Did George Benson say, he plays better than me?

What Child Is This AKA Greensleeves, the original melody is only hinted. Remarkable Hubert Laws on flute.

The next tune Toy Band, a Smooth Jazz outing, finds a radiolike romantic mood. But the difference: Chris Ho and his Band are playing in a live style. Also the arrangements are sophisticated they keep the live character of a drum-programming-free recording.

Mistletoe, this Christmas herb, is presented in a swinging jazzy attitude. Starting with a retaining piano attack the tune gathers force.

 Inner Voice, a short interlude presents a reflective slow tune.

Snow Flurry, piano tones are falling down like snow flakes. Bass and soprano sax are further incredients of this epic piece. 

A Joy To The World, well that's a great Christmas air, but only til 1:00. Then the Chris Ho Band speeeeds up to a glorious finish.

Christmas Jam is an album for friends of Christmas, who like well-seasoned jazz music.

 

HBH

 

 

The musicians:
  • Chris Ho - Piano, Synth Strings,  (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12) E.Piano (7)
  • Dr. Matt van Benschoten - Basses (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12), 12-String Guitar (11)
  • John Balbuena - Keyboards (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12), Synth Vibes, E.Piano, Synth Organ (4,12)
  • David "Red" Renick - Drums
  • Wayne Wayne - Saxes
  • Hubert Laws - Flutes
  • Michael O'Neill - Guitars (6)
  • Phil Upchurch - Guitars (1,5,12)
  • Mike Smith - Percussion (6,7,8)
  • Chris Tedesco - Trumpet, Flugelhorn (1,3,8,12)
  • Rudy Guess - Guitars (8,12)
  • Patti Henley - Vocals (1,4)
  • Robert Henley - Vocals (4)
  • Tata Vega - Vocals (5)
  • Tina & Dr. Matt van Benschoten - Vocals (3)
Further informations

 

The album is available here: