Phil Denny kicks off the season in style with The Messenger!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Today my cyber inbox brought me tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, and soon!
Phil Denny and long time Producer Nate Harasim have joined forces once again to lay down a Christmas release sure to be in your hot rotation for years to come!
On the smoother side of the contemporary instrumental jazz street you can find releases that either lean too far to the neo-soul side or are simply starter kits for that eventual move to the easy listening section that we all must face. The Messenger finds that musical sweet spot right in the middle and Phil Denny is perhaps the fastest rising contemporary instrumental star since Boney James. The Messenger includes the usual cast of Christmas characters but the arrangements elevate the old into the new cool sound so many contemporaries try and hit but simply fall short of the mark, not here because Phil Denny simply crushes these tune. "White Christmas" along with "Deck The Halls" and "This Christmas" are but three of the classics that are reharmed for that old school becomes new cool sound that is the calling card of Phil Denny. The Messenger is a soulful and soul filled Christmas celebration! The entire ensemble cast is first rate with solid vocal performances from all!
A Christmas release can live or die when it comes to adding original tunes. "Radio Flyer" and "The Messenger" are two originals co-written with Nate Harasim and they serve as that delightful Christmas bow to wrap up a first rate holiday gift to you. Toss in some guest artists that include
Matt Godina and Lin Roundtree and the release is pure gold or better yet...
Tracks: Radio Flyer; God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman; Do You Hear What I Hear; Milk & Cookies; This Christmas; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; Little Drummer Boy; Deck The Halls; The Messenger
Personnel: Phil Denny: Saxophones, EWI (1,7), Vocals (8); Nate Harasim: Keys, Programming; Matt Godina: Guitar (1,4,5,6,9,10), Rhodes (9); Lin Rountree: Trumpet, Flugelhorn (6); Darnell Kendricks: Lead Vocals (6), Vocals (8); Jalen Seawright: Lead Vocals (3); Terrence Parker: Bass (6); Lamar Jones: Bass (2,4,7); Serlatheo Quinlan: Rhodes / Organ (6); Brayden Denny: Snare Drum (8).