This holiday season, hop aboard Maestro Erich Kunzel’s one-horse open sleigh for an unforgettable salute to Christmas past and present, Christmastime Is Here. Kunzel, the Prince of Pops, rings in the holiday season with the help of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and some of the most charismatic jazz artists on the Telarc roster.
As the yuletide favorite “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” suggests, the best and most memorable part of the holidays is the chance to be with friends and family—to laugh, to remember, and to hear again the wonderful music that makes the Christmas season the most special time of the year. Christmastime Is Here is just such a gathering, as some of the finest artists in the Telarc family come together to share their musical wishes for the holiday season. Who better to host such a celebration than Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, whose Christmas with the Pops recording on Telarc has been a favorite holiday classic since its release in 1990?
Tierney Sutton, winner of JazzWeek magazine’s Vocalist of the Year (2005), has amassed a vast international audience with her perfect pitch and stunning stage presence. Tierney brings her warmth and grace to the poignant WWII-era classic, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Elsewhere, she has been heard in such films as The Cooler (starring William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin) and Twisted (with Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, and Ashley Judd), appeared with her band in clubs and concerts across the country, and recorded five diverse albums for Telarc: jazz standards usually performed instrumentally (Unsung Heroes), music of Bill Evans (Blue in Green), a collection inspired by Frank Sinatra (Dancing in the Dark), unique interpretations of a broad range of pop numbers (Something Cool), and a concert recorded live at Birdland (I’m with the Band, a Grammy nominee in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category).
Tony DeSare, Telarc’s new heartthrob, adds his own vocal stylings to the Mel Tormé classic “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). Tony, who has drawn rave reviews for his renditions of songs from the great American songbook as well as his own original compositions, has headlined at Birdland, Café Carlyle and other high-profile clubs throughout the U.S. Tony’s wide-ranging repertoire and the charm and sophistication he brings to it in onstage are captured in his 2005 Telarc debut, Want You.
In the spirit of the season, dynamic singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli sings the classic “Silver Bells.” Since the mid-‘80s, John has received wide acclaim for his appearances as a soloist and bandleader, and for the half-dozen Telarc releases since 2000 that document the range of his musical personality—from the romantic (Kisses in the Rain, Let There Be Love, Knowing You) to hip jazz (Live at Birdland), to cool Latin (Bossa Nova), to a memorable collaboration the George Shearing Quintet (The Rare Delight of You). His latest release, Dear Mr. Sinatra, is a tribute to one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
The mix of holiday classics also includes “I Wonder As I Wander,” an old Appalachian song whose wistful beauty is captured by the compelling voice of singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway. Ann has starred in the Broadway musical Swing!, toured to much acclaim in the U.S., Europe, Russia and Australia, and has appeared on Live From Lincoln Center, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and many other national telecasts. Ann made her Telarc debut in August 2006 with Blues in the Night, a dynamic and stirring combination of standards and original material.
The King’s Singers deliver a stirring rendition of what is perhaps the most revered Christmas song of all time, “Silent Night.” Founded in 1968 at King’s College in Cambridge, England, the King’s Singers have developed the broadest and most diverse repertoire of any international singing group, performing classical, popular, sacred and secular music from the 1500s to the present, with more than sixty recordings and a Grammy nomination.
Also along for this festive sleigh ride are the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers with “Sing with Us of Christmas,” a medley of holiday classics that includes “Good King Wenceslas,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” And it wouldn’t be the holidays without a joyous children’s choir. Maestro Kunzel invited along the Children’s Choir from the School for the Creative and Performing Arts to perform the title track, “Christmastime is Here,” from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The children’s choir also performs “Caroling Fun,” a medley that includes “Here We Come a Wassailing,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride! Grab your hat and mittens and bring along a tall mug of hot chocolate for a joyous ride into the holiday season—Telarc style—with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops’ Christmastime Is Here.