Artist: The Simeon Davis Group
Album: Bah Humbug: An Absolutely Unnecessary Christmas Album
Label: JEC Music
Year Of Release: 2020
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
01. Let It Snow
02. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
03. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (feat. Juan Galdamez)
04. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (feat. Rachel Azbell)
05. O Come O Come Immanuel
06. You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch (feat. Kendrick Ballard, Kyle Dugger, Jess Goodrich, Alex Hodge, Destin Wernicke & Callandra Youngle
07. Christmastime Is Here
08. Sing We Now Of Christmas
09. Deck The Halls
10. O Christmas Tree
11. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Another in a series of Christmas albums, but differs from the standard idea of such releases in the most decisive way. It is not for nothing that Simeon Davis and his band, in addition to the main title Bah Humbug, have added to it the subtitle “Absolutely optional Christmas album”. This is a great Christmas present – but for the subtle connoisseurs of jazz and only for them.
Simeon Davis took eleven Christmas melodies, well known and recognizable from the first sound, and rearranged them sometimes beyond recognition, turning each into a tribute to one or another jazz musician. The main block of songs was recorded literally last week – December 6, 2020, and only one track, You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch appeared in November 2018 – apparently, it was from that time that Simeon got the idea to record such an album. His main associates in this project were the musicians of the Simeon Davis Group, which is a quartet with a standard rhythm group and Davis’s solo alto saxophone.
The reincarnations of the Christmas classics look different in this project. For example, in the French Christmas song Sing We Now of Christmas, Simeon introduced modal harmonies and avant-garde elements, inspired equally by Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and the music of the South African pianist Nduduzu Mahatini. I’ll Be Home For Christmas, featuring guest percussionist Juan Galdamez, played samba rhythms, and the majestic 13th-century O Come O Come Immanuel Davis turned into a great example of post-bop with groove inspired by Wayne Shorter’s music.