When A Child is Born: Christmas Jazz in a Spiritual Mode
Marvin Chandler & The Jack Gilfoy Quartet
Naptown Jazz Records Marvin Chandler embraces listeners with a lush, velvet voice to make all childbirths miraculous and songs of communal celebration personal. His "Mary Had A Baby" is every father bursting with pride, and it's equally "oh yeah" with his lyrics and music for the title song. "When A Child Is Born" there's "love and grace ... a vision of hope."
Chandler is equally stunning on the piano, along with Gilfoy on drums and percussion, Jon Block and Steve Dokken on bass and Dan Hughey on trombone. Hughey sings his trombone into sweetness for "What Child is This," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Away In A Manger."
The combo delivers "Mary's Boy Child" as a swinging calypso, "Silver Bells" in a romantic two-step with a bass solo bridging to a flirty ending, "Snowfall" with piano whirling snowflakes on a landscape of percussion and bass, and "Silent Night" in an arrangement ascending into galaxies.
Everett Greene and the Second Baptist Church Choir of Bloomington, Ind., turn "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain" into gospel jazz.
Splendid as they all are, "Little Drummer Boy" stands out. Visualize a slow drum, joined by piano, then bass, in a cadence of pride breaking loose like Maurice Sendak's "Wild Things" until everything oversized and raucous suddenly slips into resonating silence. A masterful arrangement.
Upcoming concerts by Marvin Chandler and The Jack Gilfoy Quartet, with Everett Greene: Dec. 24, 7 p.m., Northminster Presbyterian Church, 1660 Kessler Blvd E. Drive; Dec. 26, 10 a.m., Meridian Street United Methodist Church, 5500 N. Meridian St. For info: firstname.lastname@example.org.