Composer/pianist Monika Herzig is heralding in the holiday season with her latest release Peace On Earth, featuring her long-time guitarist Pete Kienie. Originally from Germany, the duo has made a name for themselves as a set of fierce improvisers. Their exchanges are intricately woven enhancing the lively jitter of the rhythmic beats and the breathy pitter patter of the horns making the album a sleigh ride that emotes jolly vibrations from every direction.
Kienie’s guitar chords dance vibrantly along "Go Tell It On The Mountain" as Herzig’s palpitating piano improvisations intertwine the rhythmic beats with ruffling sparks. The horn section opening "The Coventry Carol" begins with a solemn pitch and then jazzes it up into a sprightly plume of bustling activity. The fairytale-like aura of "Children Sleep Softly" and "Give Peace Every Chance" is perpetrated by the soft and willowy violin seams of Carolyn Dutton, creating airy spins and shimmery effects. The bluesy vibe of the horns in "This Little Light Of Mine" has a gospelly feel which shifts into a jamboree of free-flying sprigs in "Happy Xmas" and "Ballad For A Snowman." The dulcet tones of "O Christmas Tree" are lit by the crystal-like texture of Herzig’s piano sprinkles and the delicate traipsing of bell-chimes. The waltzing horns of "Christmas Time Is Here" have a traditional ring and the soft and fluffy silhouettes strewn across "Silent Night" and "Ode To A New Year" have a peaceful swagger and a congenial pitch that can brighten any household through the holiday season.
Peace On Earth is a laudable offering from composer/pianist Monika Herzig. She blends traditional templates with artistically avant expressions that add surges of sparks to the album. She shows a deep respect for spirituals like "This Little Light Of Mine" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and exciting interpretations of contemporary tunes like John Lennon’s "Happy Xmas." Wherever she travels with these songs, she always brings them to a place of solace which makes the holiday season feel nice.