How interesting that Matt King’s first CD release would be a selection of Christmas songs. Nonetheless, "Welcome, Christmas: Unique Journeys Through Seasonal Songs
" is, musically, a well-executed, beautifully melodic jazz Christmas offering, suitable for evening listening while cuddling with a loved one in front of the ole Yule fire.
The album begins with the title track, a driving Dr. Seuss ditty from the original film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957). From the opening notes you are reassured that this is not only a Christmas CD, but a jazz recording-no holes barred. Most of the tunes are not surprisingly traditional which is what is usually recommended for a successful holiday recording. What makes Welcome, Christmas special is how well the tunes are jazzed-up. It is easy to forget at times that you are listening to the same music which you typically hear this time of year and are only reminded when-- in true jazz fashion-- Mr. King intermittently interjects the recognizable melody back into the piece.
Mr. King comes to jazz with an impressive portfolio. He won the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 2000 and was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition. He has played with jazz greats, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Rufus Reid, Jon Hendrix, Bob Moses and has toured with Blood Sweat and Tears. He studied under jazz greats, Harold Mabern and Kenny Werner. It’s a better bet than not, that all of this past will add up to a bright future.
The Matt King Trio will perform during the Savannah Onstage Anderson Weekend Jazz Brunch on Sunday, March 10, 2002 at 12:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Savannah, Regency Ballroom. Tickets are $35 each with discounts for groups and can be obtained by calling 912-236-2252 or 1-800-868-FEST (3378).
Larry Dane-Kellogg is the Host of JazzCapades on WHCJ 90.3 Jazz Radio in Savannah.