Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass: Rob McConnell (leader, valve trombone); Moe Koffman (soprano & alto saxophones, piccolo, flute, clarinet); John Johnson (soprano & alto saxophones, flute, clarinet); Pat LaBarbera (soprano & tenor saxophones, flute, clarinet); Alex Dean (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet); Bob Leonard (baritone saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet); Dave Dunlop, Steve McDade, John MacLeod, Guido Basso, Kevin Turcotte (trumpet, flugelhorn); Alastair Kay, Bob Livingston, Jerry Johnson (trombone); Ernie Pattison (bass trombone); James MacDonald, Judy Kay (French horn); David Restivo (piano); Ed Bickert (guitar); Jim Vivian (bass); Ted Warren (drums); Brian Leonard (percussion).
Recorded at DAVE, Toronto, Canada from April 27-28, 1998. Includes liner notes by Rob McConnell.
"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" was nominated for the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement.
Personnel: Rob McConnell (valve trombone); Ed Bickert (guitar); Moe Koffman (flute, piccolo, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Bob Leonard (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, percussion); John Johnson (flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Pat La Barbera (flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Alex Dean (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Guido Basso, John MacLeod, Steve McDade, Kevin Turcotte, Dave Dunlop (trumpet, flugelhorn); James MacDonald (French horn); Alastair Kay, Jerry Johnson , Bob Livingston (trombone); Ernie Pattison (bass trombone); Dave Restivo (piano); Ted Warren (drums).
Audio Mixer: Phil Edwards .
Liner Note Author: Rob McConnell.
Recording information: Dave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (04/27/1998/04/28/1998).
Photographer: Don Vickery.
Arranger: Rob McConnell.
Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass add plenty of spice to this Christmas jazz CD, not only with superb, fresh charts but a few surprising selections. The rich brass and reeds carry the deliberate rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which segues into a perky Latin-flavored chart of "I'll Be Home for Christmas." "Away in a Manger" is not the commonly heard melody but one first written in 1887, though the music will likely be familiar, even if one doesn't associate it with the well-known lyrics. The lush setting of "The Christmas Song," which likely set Mel Torm‚ and Bob Wells for life with royalty checks due to its many recordings, showcases the leader's valve trombone and pianist David Restivo. "My Favorite Things," originally written for The Sound of Music, has gradually been transformed into double duty as a Christmas carol; this swinging interpretation works very well. Johnny Mandel, the composer of many memorable melodies, deserves greater recognition for his gorgeous piece "A Christmas Love Song"; this arrangement deserved to help put it on the jazz map. Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass consistently delivered first-rate music throughout their existence, this holiday CD no exception. ~ Ken Dryden