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Chris Bauer, In a Yuletide Groove




Chris Bauer, In a Yuletide Groove (self-released)


11/14/13
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 It’s November, which means that your local department store just slashed the Halloween stuff to 90 percent off and put tinsel and plastic elves all over the place. So yeah, we can’t escape it, it’s the holidays. People usually buy their Christmas music way ahead of time, which is why I’ve always felt funny doing reviews of Christmas CDs nearer to the holiday, so let’s get this out of the way, an LP I’ve ignored in my inbox for nearly two years now, a harmonica/piano/guitar-centric jazz quintet futzing around with traditional carols. Very little depth to the production here — I might have liked a little more reverb, especially on Bauer’s Sesame Street-ready harmonica, which has its best soloing moments on “Winter Wonderland.” The familiar melodies don’t get lost in the soloing, which is what you want, of course, in things like this, so that’s a positive.  The upright bass solos in “Christmastime is Here” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” get a little draggy, but they’re obviously meant as knuckleballs in this straightforward, quite listenable exercise. A- — Eric W. Saeger






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