Release Date: 2009
- Joy to the World
- Silent Night
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
- Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
On the “Christmas Joy” CD, the John Mahoney Big Band reinvents hymns and secular favorites as forward-thinking, hard-swinging modern jazz instrumentals.
Astral Project saxophonist Tony Dagradi illuminates a 13-minute “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” with an epic tenor solo. “Silent Night” is refitted with a fresh rhythm. “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” morphs from a chorale to a bolero. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” evolves from a 4/4 hymn to a 3/4 jazz waltz with bold trombones and saxophones. As Mahoney writes in the CD’s liner notes, “the celebration got a little rowdy in Bethlehem that night.”
With seasonal standards, “the melodies are always great,” says Mahoney, a trombonist and professor of jazz at Loyola University. “It’s easy to throw other stuff at it because it’s good to begin with. Just give it a couple of new twists and everybody goes, ‘Oh, I never thought of it that way.'”
Christmas has never sounded quite like this.