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The Christmas Album

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Album Review

This mega popular new age pianist — who jokingly refers to himself as a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) — has been one of Narada's core artists since the mid-80s and has one of the genre's best-selling albums of all time in 1988's Cristofori's Dream. Over the years, Lanz has contributed elegant arrangements of holiday classics to a series of label samplers, and in 1994 he put out Christmas Eve, which tied more interpretations together with brief improvisations. This release is stunning musically because he's on the mark whether he's hypnotizing with unique upper-register harmonies over tunes everyone has heard a million times ("Silent Night") or playing his own classics like the orchestral-fueled "Beloved." What's curious about this collection is what its exact point is. It's not a full compilation of his Christmas catalog (that would require his best snowy tune ever, "Rock the Herald Angels" with Paul Speer on Narada's second Christmas sampler) and it features tunes from a few of his non-holiday albums. Sure they're all beautiful and romantic and put you in the mood for snowfall and candles and warming up by the fire. But it's kind of an odd mix of greatest hits. Any true Lanz fan most likely has versions of these tunes elsewhere (though several were recorded at the Guthrie Theater Christmas Concert). So this collection is most suited for those who'd like to sample him or those who just have to have another grand instrumental Christmas CD in their pile.

Customer Reviews

Christmas has never sounded so cool.

If you're anything like me then you hate the day after halloween when every radio station starts playing the same crappy christmas music 24 hours a day. I really hate the renditions of christmas songs where the lead is just some obnoxious pop diva hollering at me set to a slightly jazzy arrangement.

That being said, some of the traditional christmas music that's out there is actually good and the songs themselves are pretty good. I'm just sick of being beaten over the head by them on pop stations. This album is the remedy to all that ails christmas music. The traditional christmas songs that you love have been re-arranged by David Wallimann in a way that rock, progressive, metal, and fusion, fans will really appreciate. The tunes are all in there but their treatment adds some really interesting flavors that a seasoned ear will appreciate.

If you're looking to put on some christmas music for the drive to work around the holidays or to play while the family decorates the christmas tree but you can't bear the thought of the terrible radio malarkey then this is the album for you. Those of us with an ear for creative and interesting music but who still harbor some sentiment for traditional christmas music owe Mr. Wallimann our gratitude.

The Christmas Album, David Wallimann
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