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Carol of the Bells
Artist: Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra
Label: Owl Studios, Inc.
Length: 12 tracks
It is still not too late to swing into the Christmas spirit, and you can do so by listening to the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra’s fabulous album Carol of the Bells.  The heart warming, bass vocals of crooner Everett Greene are infectious as he sings familiar songs such as the opening track, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and Mel Torme and Robert Wells’ “The Christmas Song.” When Greene sings, “Although it has been said many times, and in many ways, Merry Christmas to you,” you will wish you could reach out and shake his hand vigorously, while returning the well wishes. 
This CD however, is much more than just Everett Greene’s splendid vocals. It is about an orchestra that features magnificent musicians, including the incredible horn section, consisting of, saxophonists Tom Meyer (alto and soprano, plus flute and clarinet), Mike Strickland (alto sax, clarinet and flute), Frank Glover (tenor sax, clarinet), soprano/tenor saxophonist Rob Dixon, and baritone sax man Ned Boyd, who doubles on bass clarinet. The three trumpeters Joey Tartell, Jeff Conrad and Mike Hackett also play flugelhorn. Brent Wallarab’s trombone surrounds Greene’s vocals with a warm glow, as he sings “The Christmas Song.” Throughout “Carol of the Bells,” Wallarab’s fellow trombonists Loy Hetrick, Jason Miller and Rich Dole deliver spectacular performances.  The horn section is completed by French horn player Celeste Holler.  
This is an album to which you can dance the night away, or simply close your eyes and be swept off your feet. You haven’t lived until you have heard the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra perform their rendition of “O, Tannenbaum,” which highlights the emotive playing of trumpeter Mike Hackett.  I cannot remember the last time I heard Christmas music that moved me as much as this album does, and made me want to sweep a partner around the dance floor. So impressed have their audiences been by their music, that the CD was actually recorded as a response to their fans’ demands for a permanent record. Previously the orchestra had only intended to use these arrangements for live gigs. 
When it comes to songs such as “Joy to the World,” I tend to be more of a traditionalist, but the musicians and vocalist Greene won me over with their respectful, but swinging interpretation of an old classic. This would also be a good time to pay homage to the remaining three members of the rhythm section, acoustic bass player Jack Helsley, pianist Luke Gillespie and drummer Jesse Nolan. All three turn in sterling performances for “Joy To The World,” as they do for all the songs on this album. 
Carol of the Bells, which takes its name from the title track,  ends on the perfect note (excuse the pun) for this time of year, with Frank Loesser’s “What Are You Doing On New Year’s Eve.” Romantic is the only way to describe how the orchestra plays. Greene’s enchanting vocals no doubt cause a lot of dances to end with a kiss. 
If you are still out there looking for some quality Christmas music then you should consider picking up a copy of _Carol of the Bell_s. This is a truly outstanding recording that you can enjoy year after year. 

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer and the publisher of Riveting Riffs, . His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague. 


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