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David Ian – Vintage Christmas Trio (2017)

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David Ian – Vintage Christmas Trio (2017)

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1.Deck The Halls (4:18)
2.It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (3:51)
3.Joy To The World (3:08)
4.White Christmas (3:22)
5.Good King Wenceslas (3:32)
6.I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (3:18)
7.We Three Kings (3:08)
8.Up On The Housetop (3:16)
9.Silver Bells (3:29)
10.O Come, All Ye Faithful (2:40)

Jon Estes - Bass (Upright), Piano 
Josh Hunt - Drums, Percussion
David Ian - Piano, Primary Artister 

 

You can see the snow gently drifting down through the sky, taste the eggnog, and feel the yuletide spirit gently wrapping its arms around you as Vintage Christmas Trio pleasantly glides on by. Building on a branding-savvy holiday portfolio that includes Vintage Christmas (Prescott Records, 2011) and Vintage Christmas Wonderland (Prescott Records, 2014), pianist David Ian delivers a stripped-down set of ten holiday chestnuts that values clarity and concision.

While vocals factored into the earlier Vintage Christmas concoctions, the recipe is down to just three instrumental ingredients here—Ian, bassist Jon Estes, and drummer Josh Hunt. Nothing more is needed, as a lighthearted and affable attitude wins out with these trio tracks. Hunt's brushes gently coat the snare, melodious sounds calmly comes forth, and Ian and Estes take playful turns on a "Deck The Halls" opener. Later, suggestions of hope and yearning carry "White Christmas" from the threshold to a warmer and lighter space; "Up On The Housetop" moves from gentle environs toward a jolly atmosphere, taking that turn for the cheery with the entrance of Estes and Hunt; and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" closes the album with the sound of true belief.

Christmas albums often try to sell themselves with novelty value, athleticism, and/or pizzazz, but Ian won't have any of that. His music is straightforward. And while it certainly falls under the jazz heading, don't look for lengthy solos, wild trips afield, bluesy bluster, or radical redesigns. There's a spare elegance to Ian's vision of Christmas that's in keeping with the meaning of the holiday and the feeling of the season. ---Dan Bilawsky, allaboutjazz.com

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