2005 seems to be a banner year for fine Christmas recordings. Here's another to add to your Christmas stocking.
Pennsylvania songstress, Barbara Montgomery, offers her Noél - One From The Heart
. Accompanied by Philadelphia jazz pianist Tom Lawton, the singer serves up a session of sacred and secular holiday favorites. Montgomery's six previous CDs earned her a reputation as a sultry jazz balladeer and her fans will not be disappointed with Noel
. Barbara Montgomery's earthy style lends itself perfectly to her choice of time-honored treasures. From the first note, she surprises the listener by singing the verse to "I'll Be Home For Christmas." This reviewer was unaware that the old chestnut had a verse.
We liked the singer's lovely readings of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and "What Child Is This." The former is delivered with an implied Latin rhythm assisted by Tom Lawton's sensitive keyboard style.
Barbara Montgomery has great voice control and, like Tony Bennett, an unerring sense of time. The jazzy songstress delivers a finger popping and bluesy version of "Soalin'." The highlight of this CD has to be Montgomery's burning rendition of "Children Go Where I Send Thee." The almost nine minute track allows both singer and pianist plenty of room to "groove" and they swing with emotion. Wow!
The closer is in Montgomery's trademark style. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is best accompanied by a warm fire, dimmed lights and glass of wine. Enjoy!