Holiday CD Reviews

CD Reviews
Brian Setzer Orchestra
Rockin’ Rudolph
2015
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Wizards of Winter
The Magic of Winter
2015
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This time of the year there are many Christmas albums out there. We chose the two that we feel are most deserving of your hard earned dollars.

First up is the latest Christmas release from the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Rockin’ Rudolph is the third Christmas album Setzer has released, the first since 2005s Dig That Crazy Christmas. This release also coincided with his 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour.

The album features the usual plethora of Christmas songs that feature the traditional Setzer trademark guitar work he is noted for. Added to the mix is his big band horn arrangements giving the album that added touch you all expect from a BSO release.

This time around Brian chose such songs as “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, all of which he had never recorded before. Setzer noted, “It doesn’t matter if they’re holiday songs or when they were written, they’re just great songs. So the trick,” adds SETZER, “is to make them sound hip. Some of them are eternally hip, you know, so you don’t have to do too much.”

Perhaps the song that stands out best is Yabba-Dabba Yuletide”, a song that is based off of the Flinstones theme. Setzer took that song and did a marvelous job at transforming it into a memorable Christmas selection.

The other release we wanted to make note of is the Wizards of Winter, a spectacular release for those who enjoy the type of music similar to that of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. In fact the ensemble gathered to record this album features a few original member from TSO itself.

What started out as an attempt to raise money for the town’s food bank has turned into another entity itself. Scott Kelly has co-founded something special that has taken on a life of its own. With The Magic of Winter, the group has demonstrated they are quite capable of producing a fine soundtrack for this most wonderful time of year.

Wizards of Winter features original TSO members Guy LeMonnier (vocalist), Tony Gaynor (narrator) along with Kelly (music director, keyboards), Steve Ratchen (bass), Sharon Kelly (flute, vocals), Fred Gorhau (guitar), Mary McIntyre (keyboards, vocals), Tommy Ference (drums), TW Durfy (guitar), Natalia Niarezka (violin) and Vincent Jiovino (vocals).

Songs of note from The Magic of Winter include “Winter Magic”, “The Spirit Of Christmas” and the guitar laden “Christmas Cotillion” which showcases the talents of the guitarists.

Both of these releases are highly recommended and are what we consider the cream of the crop for 2015 Holiday releases. We are sure these will make your playlists for many years to come.

Brian Setzer Orchestra- Rockin’ Rudolph

Tracks
01 Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
02 Yabbaa-Dabba Yuletide
03 Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
04 Rockabilly Rudolph
05 Here Comes Santa Claus
06 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
07 Swingin’ Joy
08 Carol Of The Bells
09 Little Jack Frost
10 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
11 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
12 Yabba-Dabba Yuletide (Extended)

Wizards of Winter
The Magic Of Winter

Tracks
01 Flight Of The Snow Angels
02 Winter Magic
03 The Spirit Of Christmas
04 Season’s Lament
05 Waken To The Sound
06 Christmas Cotillion
07 I Am Here
08 Ebeneezer
09 With ONe Voice
10 The Spirit of Christmas Reprise

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About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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