Eric Reed's Merry Magic returns for the Christmas season.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
I have long said giving a Christmas release a bad review is like punching your own ticket straight to hell. I'll pack my sunscreen.
Merry Magic is similar to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in that perhaps all it needs is a little bit of love. There is no doubt that Reed is a prolific talent but is he a leader? The recent studio releases and revolving door of record labels (not necessarily unusual) raise this fair question. The talent pool in modern jazz piano is now incredibly deep and some fine talent is getting lost in the shuffle. Vocal performances from Erin Bode and Paula West outshine the performance of Reed and the rest of the ensemble's performance is somewhat as uninspired as the arrangements. There is no lack of talent on this release and these arrangements simply never allow what could be an incredibly special release to get off the ground. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is not a torch song, never has been and never will be. This is but one example of self indulgence gone wild. "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleman" and "The Christmas Song" show flashes of brilliance and more than make up for the attempts at trying to fix what ain't broke.
However in the spirit of giving, this 2003 Christmas re-release from Maxjazz is average.
Tracks: God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleman; Santa Claus Is Coming To Town; Winter Wonderland; Angels In The Snow; Santa Baby; Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming; The Christmas Song; Little Drummer Boy; Oh Come, All Ye Faithful; I Wonder As I Wander; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve; Christmas Blues; After The Holidays.