B3 Kings – Laughing All The Way – CellarLive CL122516 50:40***
A fun-filled excursion into a jazz-infused Christmas song fest.
( Cory Weeds – tenor saxophone; Bill Coon – guitar; Chris Gestrin – Hammond Organ, tambourine, shaker & bells; Denzal Sinclaire – drums & vocals; Jack Duncan – congas & shaker #1,2,9 )
It’s that ho ho ho time of year and record labels are full of the Christmas spirit as they put out all those seasonal-themed discs that were recorded in the middle of summer. Well, the folks at CellarLive at least had the good sense to get this recording in the can in the fall of 2016. Perhaps that might help to explain that the musicians on the recording of Laughing All The Way have a more infectious association with the music as it is slightly closer to the actual holiday.
Predictably, the song set, is for the most part, the traditional Christmas material. What is not predictable, is the various style and tempos in which the material is presented. The session begins with a B3 Kings original “The Twelve Bars of Christmas”. By substituting “Bars” for “Days”, the players offer a raucous “bar” band take on this original with Weeds, Coon, and Gestrin driving the number forward in full flight.
Next “Blue Christmas” is done up with a Latin vibe that takes full advantage of the vocal by Denzal Sinclaire, with Weeds tenor saxophone in a mellow frame of mind. The Irving Berlin perennial “White Christmas” is taken up a notch with a joyful up-tempo rendition that gives guitarist Bill Coon a chance to run his fretboard while Weeds and Gestrin are offering fills and solos that keep the bounce of the number.
Throughout the album, the band has remained faithful to the meaning and intent of the Christmas material, while offering a jazz-like shiny improvisations on the themes. Their re-imagining of the traditional “God Rest Ye Merry B3 Kings” is a funky offering filled with rambling assertive playing.
So light a fire, pour a cup of eggnog, and enjoy a fun-filled excursion into a jazz-infused Christmas song fest.
The Twelve Bars Of Christmas
Little Drummer Boy
What Child Is This
O Holy Night
God Rest Ye Merry B3 Kings
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Jingle (Jangle) Bells