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CD review: Memories of Christmas

Matthew Ford with Foden's Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles
SKU: 25502

Fodens


The festive season might well be a long way off, but this 2018 CD release from Foden's with big band singer Matthew Ford is a breath of musical fresh air at any time of the year. 

It's Christmas repertoire, but not as you know it thanks to the clever arranging skills of solo trombone player John Barber who has taken a host of the popular tunes and carols and spruced them up with thoughtfulness as well as invention.

Attention

It is first and foremost though a vehicle for the considerable vocal talents of Matthew Ford; a performer who holds your attention from start to finish and a vocalist who can combine swaggering nonchalance with tender emotion at a drop of a hat. 

His phrasing is superb, whilst his voice covers the spectrum of tonality - from brash to beautiful.  He has learnt his trade – and now the craftsmanship is there to hear on each of his tracks.

In all, the 19 pieces featured cover everything from ‘Coventry Carol’ to 'God Rest Ye Merry Cha Cha Men' with the band providing an engaging counterpoint to either in accompaniment or on their own. 

It is first and foremost though a vehicle for the considerable vocal talents of Matthew Ford; a performer who holds your attention from start to finish and a vocalist who can combine swaggering nonchalance with tender emotion at a drop of a hat. 

Notable

A special mention must go to Gary Curtin (euphonium) and Richard Poole (soprano) as well as John Barber for their notable contributions (the latter also with some lovely, bluesy piano playing) and the Fodenettes.

Fun and festive even with the summer sunshine just around the corner, this is well worth picking up and putting aside as an early Christmas prezzie.  

Malcolm Wood


Playlist:

To Purchase: http://shop.fodensband.co.uk/memories-of-christmas.html

1. Once in Royal David's City (Traditional arr. John Barber)
2. Let it Snow (Sammy Cahn & Julie Styne arr. John Barber)
3. It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas (Meredith Willson arr. John Barber)
4. Silent Night (Franz Xaver Gruber arr. John Barber)
Euphonium Soloist: Gary Curtin
5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane arr. John Barber)
6. Jingle Bells (Traditional arr. John Barber)
7. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Traditional arr. John Barber)
8. I'll be Home for Christmas (Walter Kent, Buck Ram & Kim Gannon arr. John Barber)
9. Christmas Promise (Colin Skinner arr. John Barber)
10. Coventry Carol (Traditional arr. John Barber)
11. Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks arr. John Barber)
12. Memories of Christmas (Matthew Ford/James Pearson arr. John Barber)
13. Ice Castles - Through the Eyes of Love (Sagar/Hamlisch arr. John Barber)
Soloist: Richard Poole
14. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Edward Pola & George Wyle arr. John Barber)
15. O Holy Night (Adolphe Adam arr. John Barber)
16. In the Blue Midwinter (Gustav Holst arr. John Barber)
Soloist: John Barber
17. White Christmas (Irving Berlin arr. John Barber)
18. God Rest Ye Merry Cha Cha Men (Traditional arr. John Barber)
19. Jingle Bells (band version) (Traditional arr. John Barber)

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