MICHAEL DOHERTY’S MUSIC LOG
3D Jazz Trio: “Christmas In 3D” (2020) CD Review
Yesterday the nation got the best early Christmas gift ever, and we are all celebrating as if Santa Claus dropped checks for a million dollars down all our chimneys. It feels like Christmas, doesn’t it? A time of joy and cheer and love, a time when strangers suddenly act friendly toward one another. When my girlfriend and I got to the bar yesterday morning at 10:30 or so for some mimosas, Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” was playing. Perfect. Well, if you want to maintain that sort of mood, but wish to move in the direction of holiday songs, you should check out Christmas In 3D, the new album from the 3D Jazz Trio. This group takes some classic holiday fare and makes it pop and groove, and there is a tremendous amount of joy to the playing. Christmas has come early, and now you have the music to go along with it. The 3D Jazz Trio is made up of Jackie Warren on piano, Amy Shook on bass, and Sherrie Maricle on drums. This is the second album they’ve released this year, following May’s I Love To See You Smile.
The album opens with a totally delightful rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” It feels like a celebration. Spirits are high, the alcohol is flowing, and the piano is dancing. And then there is a wonderful lead on bass, followed by some great stuff on drums. This is a seriously enjoyable and cheerful rendition of the holiday classic, a great track to get things going. Then “Up On The Housetop” opens with a cool drum solo. What a fun and surprising way to start this song. For some reason, I remember this one as being “Up On The Rooftop,” but, whatever, it is the same place, isn’t it? And actually the word “rooftop” seems redundant in itself. Anyway, the joy is abundant in the playing on this tune too, and there is certainly a playful aspect, as even the drums play the melody, sort of. This track features some excellent and impressive work on piano, and another good lead on bass. Interestingly, it is after that lead on bass that the song gains more energy, particularly on drums. That’s followed by “Greensleeves,” a beautiful song that of course isn’t really a Christmas song. “What Child Is This?” simply ripped off the tune, but as this is an instrumental rendition, it doesn’t really matter. This version has a good groove, a good bit of swing to it, taking the inherent beauty of the tune and spicing it up, making it dance and shake.
Things are hopping with 3D Jazz Trio’s version of “O Christmas Tree,” which has a salsa rhythm. Like the other tracks, this one is nearly bursting with joy, making this album just the thing to keep our spirits high as we finally near the end of this horrible year. The 3D Jazz Trio then turns to country with a cover of “Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas),” picking up the song’s pace and delivering a swinging rendition, with Amy Shook playing fiddle as well as bass and totally shining on both instruments. This track is a whole lot of fun. The song was written by William T. Danoff and Taffy Nivert (both of the Starland Vocal Band, of “Afternoon Delight” fame), and recorded by John Denver. That’s followed by a totally cool rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that begins with bass and drums. I love this approach to the song. After a minute or so, the piano comes in, and somehow the song gets even cooler. Oh yes, this trio is rocking this song, making it swing and fly, and toward the end it gets really exciting.
“I Wonder As I Wander” is one I wasn’t as familiar with, a song written by John Jacob Niles. It is a mellower tune, but the 3D Jazz Trio makes it interesting by giving it a Brazilian rhythm. This track features more good work from all three musicians, particularly Jackie Warren on piano. That’s followed by a rendition of “White Christmas” that moves at a good clip, certainly a bit breezier than you might be used to. There is a section of bass and drums, with the drums responding to the bass. We then get a pretty rendition of “Silent Night” that begins as a soulful piano solo. The bass and drums come in after a minute or so. I particularly love that work on bass. The album ends with a swinging and joyful version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” with an extended lead on bass and a drum solo. Thanks to music like this, and thanks to the election results, I am beginning to think that we will in fact have a merry little Christmas this year after all.
CD Track List
- Winter Wonderland
- Up The Housetop
- O Christmas Tree
- Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- I Wonder As I Wander
- White Christmas
- Silent Night
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Christmas In 3D was released on October 16, 2020.