The holiday season never fails to yield some refreshing jazz themes. While this "jazz celebration of Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa" has been around for a few years, it’s still fresh and interesting.
Native New Yorker, Lynette Washington
gathered some of Gotham’s finest session players for her holiday suite. The former lead singer with The Voices Of Freedom
has toured the world and is capable of delivering her message in several languages. Her second solo project, Smoky Dawn
turned heads in 2003. A powerful and compelling singer, Washington also contributed two of the compositions. Eight Bright Candles
is a fine ode to Chanukah while her What’s Become Of Christmas?
poses just that very question.
The fine hand of pianist, Dennis Bell
is evident in all other compositions. Bell has performed with a myriad of jazz stars including Marcus Miller, Nick Brignola and Sal Salvador
. He was the musical director/conductor with the international touring unit of Jesus Christ Superstar
Bassist Cameron Brown
studied with Ron Carter & Dave Holland
and performed with Sheila Jordan, Don Cherry, Art Blakey and Archie Shepp
to name a few. Drummer Darryl Pellegrini
is a veteran of the bands of Chuck & Gap Mangione
. The rhythm section really shines throughout this session.
Ms. Washington’s gospel tinged voice mates perfectly with the exciting tones of reedman Gerry Niewood
. Niewood appears on no less than 75 albums with a diverse group of star quality performers from jazz through rock. The saxophonist is one of the highlights of this Christmas offering and is showcased on several tunes. African-American celebrants of Kwanzaa
are not forgotten. The final track on the CD is dedicated to them. Kwanzaa
is a rhythmic showpiece and a fitting end to a nice holiday album.