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Candice Corbin, Teresa Fischer, Andrew David Sotomayor - Christmas Is... (2013)

24-12-2013, 19:15
Music | Vocal Jazz | Easy Listening

Candice Corbin, Teresa Fischer, Andrew David Sotomayor - Christmas Is... (2013)

Artist: Candice Corbin, Teresa Fischer, Andrew David Sotomayor
Title Of Album: Christmas Is...
Year Of Release: 2013
Label: Teresa Fischer & Andrew David Sotomayor
Genre: Holidays
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 42:30
Total Size: 98 Mb
Covers: Front

01. This Endris Night (2:04)
02. That Spirit of Christmas (3:24)
03. Still, Still, Still - Silent Nigh (3:15)
04. I'll Be Home For Christmas (2:09)
05. Christmas Boo (3:08)
06. The Christmas Wish (3:35)
07. Last Christmas (3:52)
08. Please Don't Make Me Sing A Christmas Ballad (3:20)
09. O Holy Nigh (3:36)
10. We'll All Meet Up Next Year (3:05)
11. Christmas Is... (2:34)
12. My Epiphany (5:07)
13. Pretty Little Dolly (3:14)

The sublime sits side by side with samples of the ridiculous—meaning silly—on Christmas Is ... It underscores the fact that the holiday can bring out the reverent beauty in song, praising the birth of Jesus, as well as deign to dishing about the more mundane secular habits. Dwelling on diversions of gift-giving and getting, parties and pairing-up pale in comparison to the stark beauty and simplicity highlighted so successfully in the serious numbers.

Sharing the bill, taking turns with solos or lead vocals while the other two provide back-up and harmonies ,are Candice Corbin, Teresa Fischer, and Andrew David Sotomayor, also the very capable pianist and musical director/arranger. He's a popular go-to guy for New York City cabaret shows, oft seen behind the keys at The Duplex, and contributes four originals, one a comical collaboration with the ever-likeable and feisty Fischer who sings it: "Please Don't Make Me Sing a Christmas Ballad" that grouses its self-explanatory titular position. His title song for this album lists tender and heart-revealing pictures of what "Christmas Is" ("No matter the way that you choose to believe, the love of the season is yours to receive, in a world that's so harried and littered with fear ..."). He leads the number with an especially sensitive vocal. Guest soloist Christian Smythe on oboe plays a powerful line, but it feels globbed on, too forward in the mix, rather than fully integrated and woven in. Sotomayor's own "Christmas Boo" finds him singing about potential love partners he's choosing among, as in a pageant; it starts nicely with its verse, but I find its charms resistible as he goes on about resisting most of their charms. His "My Epiphany" tries for a combination of straightforward appreciation of tradition with some offhand remarks about worldwide customs which I suspect work better in their in-person gigs.

Teresa makes her down-home sensibilities and slyness score with a folksy, frank look on the potential, and future potential, of holiday get-togethers in "We'll All Meet Up Next Year," a rouser and spirit-raiser written by Deirdre Flint. And, in the album's comedy highlight, she garners giggles with the snide look at the gift of the "Pretty Little Dolly" that can oh-so-cutely do everything oh-so pleasant and unpleasant. She has a field day with this Mona Abboud novelty number, but she can pull her weight in some straight-faced, straight-laced chores, too, and as a team player.

Candice Corbin invests contemporary soul into the proceedings with impressive stylizations. While I kept hoping she'd raise the roof all the way, her voice is a pleasure wrapping itself around the varied selections. She takes George Michael's self-penned hit "Last Christmas" and phrases it maturely, in a way to make the words and feelings command more attention. This is partly due to a more thoughtful tempo that avoids a see-saw melodic sameness. Her forceful vocal on "I'll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)" comes packaged with an invigoratingly lively (!), but not wholly convincing, arrangement, robbing it of its inherent bittersweet uncertain outcome.

So, Santa's bag is decidedly a mixed one here, but the very first track, with Andrew David Sotomayor leading vocally with the ancient carol "This Endris Night," is such a stunning beauty that I had to play it three times before being able to move on. It's simply gorgeous and his voice has a wondrous purity which cuts through everything and is breathtaking. This is an adventurous holiday collection that gets points for thinking outside the usual gift box. ~Rob Lester

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