Since the kick-off early 2012 of “K(ing) (O)f (T)he W(orld)” (Erwin Java – guitar, Fokke de Jong – drums/backing vocals, Govert van der Kolm – Hammond/backing vocals and Ruud Weber – lead vocals/bass) things have developed prosperously for this Dutch blues-, rhythm & roots band. In less then 4 years the band built a solid name in the blues scene through the release of 2 studio – and 1 live album (Can’t go home 2013, KOTW 2014 and Live at Paradiso 2015). All 3 albums scored sheer positive reviews as well in the Dutch as in the foreign music press. But also a great live reputation has been built up through shows at the North Sea Jazz Festival…
A mere 16 years after Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops recorded their now-classic Christmas with the Pops, Christmastime Is Here is their 2006 follow-up. It sticks to the same basic formula: a mix of orchestral, choral, and solo numbers performed by the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers (a Kunzel favorite, succeeding the original's May Festival Chorus), the School for Creative and Performing Arts Children's Choir (who sang on the original, though presumably with a different roster), and an entirely new crop of soloists. While the original relied on classic veterans such as Rosemary Clooney and Doc Severinsen, Christmastime Is Here makes use of hip jazz vocalists (and, not coincidentally, Telarc recording artists all) Ann Hampton Callaway ("I Wonder as I Wander"), Tierney Sutton ("I'll Be Home for Christmas"), Tony DeSare ("The Christmas Song"), and John Pizzarelli (""Silver Bells") as well as British sextet the King's Singers ("Silent Night").
…Kunzel's Ruslan and Ludmilla overture is suitably festive, even if it doesn't quite achieve the breathless intensity exhibited by Bernstein or Pletnev. But then, being "definitive" isn't the point of this album–enjoyable music-making is, and in that respect it's a triumph. Especially so as the Cincinnati Pops plays masterfully and with great enthusiasm throughout the program. (Listen to the bold trombones in Mussorgsky's Polonaise or to the singing strings in Spartacus.) Telarc captures it all in its signature vivid, high-impact sound. Yes, I know you already have a couple of Russian favorites discs in your collection, but this new Telarc release is special enough that you'll want to make room for it.
In 1930s New Orleans, the Cincinnati Kid, a young stud poker player who travels from one big game to the next, stopping along the way up with various girls