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A Gospejazzical Christmas


Artist: John Paul McGee
Label: Jazz Urbane
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 16 November 2023

Baltimore-reared, Berklee-based pianist, composer, vocalist and educator Dr. John Paul McGee, Ph.D. (AKA Dr. JP) brightens up the holidays with 11 tracks of original and classic Christmas selections with his unique Gospejazzical sound: a pianistic amalgam of gospel, jazz and classical genres...

If you're looking for a funky, chillout album full of festive treats... then A Gospejazzical Christmas has everything you'll ever need... and more. Over the course of these 11 tracks (55 min, 53 sec) there's a little bit of Christmas magic for everyone, no matter what their musical taste.

It was while listening to 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' that I was immediately reminded of Vince Guaraldi's music for A Charlie Brown Christmas.

It was only when 'Little Drummer Boy' opened, with the iconic 'Linus and Lucy' bassline, that I realised how much of a fan of Guaraldi's work McGee obviously was. And any doubt I had dispersed once I heard 'Christmas Time Is Here', a Guaraldi piece used in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

McGee’s magical musical hybrid provides the right mix to spice up the holiday season in solo, duo, trio and quartet configurations. The Caribbean-cadenced 'Emmanuel', the solemn sonorities of 'The Manger Medley' and 'Mary Did You Know' are evocative original compositions. They complement the well-known Christmas tunes like 'Little Drummer Boy', with the 'Linus and Lucy' bassline, the beautiful balladry of the Charlie Brown classic, 'Christmastime is Here' and 'Oh Holy Night'.

The album’s other rhythms range from the Quiet Storm backbeat of 'Jesus What a Wonderful Child', and the straight-ahead 4/4 swing of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' to the striding, gospel-grooved, 'Go Tell it on the Mountain'.

A wonderfully upbeat, fun festive treat.

Track listing:

01. Emmanuel - Norman Hutchins arr. John Paul McGee, Larry Wilson (5:23)
02. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Composers: Ralph Blane/Hugh Martin (Emi Feist Catalog) (7:05)
03. Little Drummer Boy - arr. John Paul McGee, Larry Wilson Composers: Katherine Kennicott Davis, Harry Simeone (4:12)
04. Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson (4:07)
05. What Child is This - Public Domain (5:07)
06. The Manger Medley - John Paul McGee (4:20)
07. Jesus What a Wonderful Child - Public Domain (7:35)
08. Oh Holy Night - Public Domain (4:54)
09. Mary Did You Know - Composers: Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene (4:33)
10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Arranged by Gary Motley (5:33)
11. Go Tell It on the Mountain - Public Domain (3:11)


Darren Rea

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