3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It may be only the end of October but thoughts of Christmas are circulating already and one of the first entries into the arena of Christmas celebration is this new recording by the Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship. It is a very beautiful combination of jazz, folk, traditional, ancient and contemporary music that allows a fresh look at the Christmas story - outlined in the heading of this review as the line form the Song of Simeon from the Bible.
Will Scruggs was born in 1980 in Atlanta, GA, and grew up in Raleigh, NC. He has toured and recorded with Natalie Cole and has been featured as a special guest soloist with Dave Brubeck. He is a top call studio saxophonist in Atlanta, having recorded with the likes of Cee-Lo Green, the Wood Brothers, Dallas Austin, and Jermaine Dupri. He is also an accomplished bandleader, composer, and vocalist who has toured internationally to significant critical acclaim. When commenting on this new recording he stated, `The process of creating this music was an incredible journey for me, both musically and spiritually. The CD is an instrumental jazz suite in two parts, based on the message of the biblical Song of Simeon. The disc features all new arrangements and improvisations based of 11 ancient melodies that explore the mysterious side of Christmas.'
The result is a 2 part jazz suite that explores the deep, mysterious, and radical themes of the Christmas narrative using 11 ancient canticles, hymns, and folk melodies. Part I: The Glory -O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; The Annunciation; Song of Mary; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Song of Simeon; Go Down, Moses. And Part II: The Light: Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming; We Three Kings; T'Was In The Moon Of Wintertime; Ideo Gloria; Joy To The World. The Jazz sextet -
Will Scruggs, soprano and tenor sax, Brian Hogans, piano,
Dan Baraszu, guitar, Tommy Sauter, bass,
Marlon Patton, drums
, Kinah Boto Ayah, percussion,
with special guest Joe Gransden, trumpet, and is backed by an 8-piece horn ensemble -
Joe Grandsen, trumpet,
Ryan Whitehead, clarinet,
Brian Hogans, alto sax,
Norm Ficke, tenor sax,
Wes Funderburk, trombone,
Travis Cottle, trombone,
Lee Watts, bass trombone, and Will Scruggs, baritone sax: the result is a warmly beautiful musical sound quite unlike any ever heard.
Yes, the result is a celebration of Christmas, but the tone is a spiritual and almost timeless homage to the traditions of all peoples who come together at this time of year to go within as well as radiate the joy without. Grady Harp, October 12
on December 2, 2012
This CD is a two-part instrumental jazz suite that explores the deep, mysterious, and radical themes of the Christmas narrative using 11 ancient canticles, hymns, and folk melodies. All arrangements are by the Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship featuring Brian Hogans (piano), Dan Baraszu (guitar), Tommy Sauter (bass), Marlon Patton (drums), Kinah Boto Ayah (percussion), with special guest Joe Gransden (trumpet on "Go Down Moses") and an 8 piece horn ensemble. The resulting spiritual journey is a truly collaborative effort full of creativity, meaning and fulfillment.