The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

by Alexis Cole


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The Greatest Gift

Alexis Cole is a promising young jazz vocalist who sought to make a difference with her Christmas CD, which benefits World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit organization that provides sustainable transportation for disaster assistance and for poverty relief. Although this is her release, Cole doesn't play a part on every song, instead preferring to showcase many of her friends in widely different settings, not exclusively jazz., while many of the songs aren't widely known as popular Christmas carols. The boisterous opener is "Joy to the World," a breezy post-bop instrumental chart showcasing young guitarist Jessie C. Lewis. Her rich alto voice stands out in the magical arrangement of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," with Don Braden adding tasty licks behind her on tenor sax. She recasts the African-American spiritual "Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow" in a traditional Indian setting, accompanied by tambura and tabla, plus soprano, bass, and percussion. Cole shines in the sparse setting of "Happiest Christmas," backed solely by pianist Ted Firth and violinist Christian Howe. Vocalist/pianist Mark Finkin's contemporary settings of "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" and "Away in a Manger" pretty much discard the traditional melodies, replacing them with rather forgettable themes, though his modern instrumental arrangement of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" fares better. Alexis Cole is to be commended for pushing the envelope in her Christmas-themed CD, as the holiday repertoire is long overdue to be expanded.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/13/2009
Label: Motema Music
UPC: 0181212000269
catalogNumber: 26

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alexis Cole   Primary Artist,Vocals
Don Braden   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Jeff Haynes   Percussion
Christian Howes   Violin,Vocals
Jon Cowherd   Piano,fender rhodes
Zach Brock   Violin
John Menegon   Bass
Tedd Firth   Piano
Alan Ferber   Trombone
Frederick "Herb" Kennedy   Drums
Alvin Atkinson   Drums
Jessie C. Lewis   Guitar
Jody Redhage   Cello
Ike Sturm   Bass
Gottfried Stoger   Saxophone
Beth Meyers   Viola

Technical Credits

Felix Mendelssohn   Composer
Franz Gruber   Composer
Todd Barkan   Producer
Michael Marciano   Engineer
Katherine Miller   Producer,Engineer
Dan Lawrence   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Jana Herzen   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
John Menegon   Engineer
Alan Ferber   Arranger,Composer
James Murray   Composer
Ike Sturm   Arranger
Alexis Cole   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,Author
Wesley   Composer

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