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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jennifer Saran

Merry Christmas, You Are Loved

Review by Gary Hill

This new holiday release is pretty cool. It has some solid originals that feel like holiday classics, some covers of classic songs and then a couple funky pieces at the end. The only complaint I’d make is that those two funk pieces, would, I think, work better placed at different places on the disc, to lend variety to the flow. Beyond that, though, the vocals are strong and the music is compelling.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
This energized jazz arrangement is timeless. It’s a fun rendition of the holiday classic.
Mary, Did You Know
There is a lot of magic in this piece. It’s definitely a jazz styled song. It’s quite pretty. This arrangement has such drama built into it, really.
Away in a Manger
This is just a short, symphonic, instrumental treatment of the holiday classic.
In December
Jazz and pop music blend in this new classic. It’s gentle and packed with magic.
Oh Holy Night
Here’s another that feels vintage in a lot of ways. The jazzy arrangement is another timeless one.
Oh Come All Ye Faithful
This is another short instrumental treatment based on classical strings.
Merry Christmas, Darling!
Adult contemporary music and jazz merge here. I like the melodic guitar solo on this.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
This classic duet styled piece is delivered in style here. I love the jazzy arrangement on this. It’s no surprise, but it’s classy.
Breath of Heaven
Arguably the most dramatic piece here, this is rather sparse in arrangement, but yet lush in terms of the quality of sound that it produces. This is beautiful, too.
Angels We Have Heard on High
Here we get another short string arrangement.
A Christmas Song
Somehow, this feels more modern than some of the rest. There is a pop music energy and vibe here. It’s blended with the expected jazz. I like the backing vocals in the arrangement. They add a lot.
Merry Christmas, You Are Loved
I love the adult contemporary arrangement on this. It’s a pretty song that makes for another nice new holiday classic.
Little Girls Love Christmas Too
There is a spoken dedication at the start of this piece. It’s another that’s more modern in tone, but still presents the jazzy kind of arrangement we expect in a lot of ways. It’s a catchy pop styled number, really.
Mine at Christmas Time
This isn’t any kind of surprise. Instead, it’s another cool holiday song in the same kind of musical territory.
Sweetest Christmas
Bring the funk! This is a cool funky jam. It’s a good time and a great change of pace. The vocals are more shared here.
Christmas Is Really My Thang
This is cut from some of the same cloth as the previous cut. It’s another high energy, fun stomper. Personally, I think it would have been better to separate these two songs since they are so similar. It would allow them to shine more. Still, when it’s this good, it’s a minor quibble.
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