If you are looking to put a different spin on your Christmas music this year, you may want to give a listen to the CD We Three Strings featuring guitar maestros Bryan Lubeck, Johannes Linstead and Tomas Michaud. Linstead has long been considered one of the world’s foremost guitar Latino artists, while Michaud considers himself to be a New World Flamenco guitarist, and Lubeck has drawn praise from those within both the smooth jazz community, and the flamenco world. When the CD was first released in 2006, it was critically acclaimed by music industry professionals, and was in high rotation with numerous American radio stations.
Linstead, Lubeck and Michaud utilize Latin rhythms to provide us with pretty interpretations of Christmas classics such as, "Little Drummer Boy," which I never really liked, because I found it to be monotonous. Michaud however, wrote new soaring arrangements for the song, injecting some life into the tune, while still managing to respect the original.
The album was created in a unique fashion, with each of the three artists penning new arrangements, and performing their own music. What we have is mini booklets of songs from three different guitarists, but that retain a cohesive sound throughout the album.
Linstead’s lively "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen," had me waiting for the castanets to sound, as the Canadian guitarist plays with his signature clave rhythm. I also loved Linstead’s interpretation of one of my favorite carols, "Angels We Have Heard On High," which I am more accustomed to hearing with organs and / or pianos leading the way. I found Linstead’s acoustic offering to be quite appealing to my musical palette.
Fans of smooth jazz music will delight in Lubeck’s "We Three Kings," as he delivers a mellow, insightful arrangement that recreates a sense of wonderment and awe. The piano accompaniment was a nice touch. Michaud delivers one of the prettier renditions of "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," that I have heard in a long time. I particularly enjoyed the guitar riffs that bring the song to a close.
Other exciting Christmas gifts that you can anticipate unwrapping when you purchase We Three Strings, include, "What Child Is This," "The First Noel," "Away In A Manager," "Joy To The World," and two songs that I had not heard before, "Bring A Torch Jeanette," and "Isabella".