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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Maria Muldaur

Christmas at the Oasis

Review by Gary Hill

Maria Muldaur’s new CD of Christmas music played live is cool. It’s a jazz styled album with some great performances. There’s only one track whose inclusion I question on a holiday album, but still, everything’s strong. They change things up enough to keep it from feeling redundant. There’s even a clever holiday based version of Muldaur’s best known song. This music will work well for just about any Christmas celebration.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sleigh Ride

Here’s a cool instrumental jazz take on the holiday classic.

Boogie Woogie Santa
Muldaur brings her vocals to this. It’s a smoking hot holiday jazz meets blues jam. This is a soulful number that’s a lot of fun and really rocks.
Christmas Blues
They drop down the volume and pace for the first verse of this cut. They don’t lose any of the charm or cool, though. It powers up a bit after that first section and really grooves with some classic jazz textures.  I particularly enjoy the piano solo on this tune.
Yule That's Cool
Here’s another cool jazz jam. The vocals are less gutsy than on the previous two numbers and there’s a much longer instrumental segment. Both the piano and saxophone solos are noteworthy.
Santa Baby
I’ve always loved this song, no matter who does it. This version is one of the cooler ones I’ve heard. The vocals are just about perfect and we get a great guitar solo and saxophone jam. In addition, there’s a piano solo, too.
What Will Santa Claus Say
Here’s a bouncy little number with a lot of Dixieland jazz built into it. It’s another fun one.
At the Christmas Ball
Here we get a slower, rather gritty jam. It’s another tasty one. There’s definitely some Dixieland on the instrumental section of this one.
Christmas Night In Harlem
This is a swinging jazz number that’s pretty cool.
Merry Christmas Baby
A cool bluesy jam, this has a exceptional vocal performance and some great instrumental work.
Zat You Santa Claus?
Here we get a killer tune with a bit a Halloween meets Christmas air to it. It really oozes cool and charm.
Winter Wonderland
This one is another instrumental and it has some great soloing. It’s a fun groove. I particularly enjoy the guitar solo.
Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You
Another slow groove, this is a nice tune, but the Christmas reference on this one is really just incidental.
Christmas At The Oasis
Muldaur’s trademark song is reworked with this holiday rendition. It’s got a great jazz arrangement and works well in this format.
 
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