by Joseph Lang
“In 1961, vocalist June Christy released an album of twelve original seasonal songs by Arnold Miller and Connie Pearce titled This Time of Year. The album has been underrated since its release, with only one of the selections, “The Merriest,” receiving much attention outside of the album. On 7 Shades of Snow (Arabesque Recordings – 6972), another June, JUNE BISANTZ, gives her take on six of the tunes from the Christy album, “The Merriest,” “Ring a Merry Bell,” “Hang Them on the Tree,” “Seven Shades of Snow,” “Sorry to See You Go” and “Winter’s Got Spring Up It’s Sleeve.” The songs hold up well and Bisantz does a fine job of presenting them, backed by a terrific sextet led by bassist Jon Burr that also includes Mark Pfaneuf on sax, Brandon Lee on trumpet, Mike Eckroth on piano, James Chirillo on guitar and Alvester Garnett on drums. Due to the pandemic, Bisantz and the musicians recorded their parts in their own home studios, and Norman Johnson did a masterful job of mixing and mastering the album. Bisantz’s decision to resurrect this material was a wise choice, well done.