Advertisement

Holiday songs get a jazzy remake

December 22, 2010|By Bill Peters
(Leonard Coutin )

Familiar Christmas songs and tunes about unrequited love were on the program in a holiday performance offered by the Glendale Renaissance Orchestra earlier this month at the Alex Theatre.

The sponsors of the concert, the New West Symphony and Glendale Arts, invited conductor and arranger Matt Catingub to lead the 33-musician orchestra, and Elliott Yamin, an "American Idol" finalist and hit songwriter-performer, to sing during the final concert of the orchestra's inaugural season in a program split between Christmas carols and Yamin's songs.

The pair teamed to offer a one-hour program of holiday carols in arrangements by Catingub and soulful songs written by Yamin, thus the program title, "A Soulful Holiday Celebration." Catingub is an arranger by craft. His take on the holiday season's tunes stems from the sounds of the easy-listening genre with a nod to big band sound. Whether it was "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Let it Snow" or a Christmas medley, each rendering was flavored with familiar orchestral techniques found in the works of Stan Kenton, Henry Mancini and Peter Nero.

Advertisement

In "Charlie Brown Christmas Medley/Linus", Catingub brought more a sound of Erroll Garner than Vince Guaraldi, the San Francisco jazz pianist who composed these songs, as part of the music for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the 1965 TV special based on the "Peanuts" comic strip. The piece showed off Catingub's keyboard ability and all his arrangements displayed a fluid jazz understanding.

Catingub conducted from the piano. In "Let it Snow," drummer Ralph Humphrey showed why he is a top-rated studio musician and Ken Wild was a standout with the upright acoustic bass in "Winter Wonderland." Some fine flute work was heard in that piece as well by Paul Fried and Carol Lockart. Trumpeter Robert O'Donnell took Catingub's contemporary arrangement of "O, Holy Night" into a jazz-hymn style.

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles
|
|
|