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Twelve Days of Christmas

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Customer Reviews

Review by Wes Gillespie from ALL THAT JAZZ

Pianist / Composer Steve Barta has released a number of excellent festive albums in the past including 'That Christmas Feeling', 'Noel, A Musical Christmas Card' and 'Christmas Around The World' but his new set entitled 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is surely his finest work to date. Recorded with strings and some familiar musicians from his previous albums including renowned flautist / producer Herbie Mann, Steve has chosen thirteen classic holiday tunes and blended them with his unmistakable warmth and style. The arrangements of tracks like 'Skating' with Steve's interplay with flute create a visualization quite appropriate for the subject, a combination of glides and energy whilst 'What are you doing New Year's Eve?' is a melodic piece with strings and you can see yourself sitting at home with friends in front of an open fire and outside the snow is falling on to the earth in the quiet of night. The melodic 'Christmas Time Is Here' takes us on a quiet, unhurried, winter's day journey with a backdrop of real strings (so much richer and expressive than synthesized chorals and manufactured strings). Steve Barta's playing is excellent throughout the album, clear, precise, warm and his fellow musicians compliment his touch with a passive synergy - from the upright bass of Kim Stone to the subtle brushes of drummer Ronnie Shaw. This is a combination successfully united on many of Steve's previous sets and this familiarity gells so well on classics like 'Silver Bells and ' Air On A G String' (Kim Stone's fretless bass playing sounding like a younger Jaco Pastorius) Favorites like 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Let It Snow', 'The Christmas Song' have a wonderful jazz and latin feel to them, the former similar in style to tracks from his wonderful 'Blue River' set which also featured flautist Herbie Mann. My favorite track on an album of excellent festive fare is Rogers and Hammerstein's 'My favorite things' taken from the hit musical 'The Sound of Music' which is a first class arrangement with haunting violins sweeping into the familiar melody and a jazzy interpretation. The album's title track, 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' highlights the use of strings on the album and is a light hearted, English Country Garden affair full of energy, fun and a perfect ending to a memorable set. This album has evolved with much care and attention, knowledge and an innate passion for the music. All too often artists will take a familiar song and play it like someone else, which in my opinion defeats the whole purpose, if you can't add anything to an original, leave it alone, but Steve Barta has created a new platform for these classic songs and added his wealth of experience to offer a truly excellent set and highly recommended for this and forthcoming holiday seasons.

Biography

Born: December 25, 1953

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Based in Colorado, pianist Steve Barta made an impression with his 1991 Kokopelli release Blue River. Although he started playing piano when he was six, Barta lost interest and stopped altogether when he was 11. He did learn trombone well enough to work in local funk bands in high school, but resumed playing piano while in his early 20s. After studying at Mankato State University in Minnesota, he moved to Colorado, where he has been involved in a wide variety of music. Barta wrote the "Heritage Suite,"...
Full Bio
Twelve Days of Christmas, Steve Barta
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