One of the fortes of David Lanz is his ultra smooth touch with the piano. He fulfills Cristofori’s dream of not only playing his creation, the piano, but also caresses sweet notes out of the instrument like no other pianist of our time. As such his style is tailor made for the classic Christmas carols but adds significant improvisation to give them a breath of fresh of air, yet, retains the solid foundation that have made them timeless.
Christmas albums are not new territories for Lanz. In fact, if you were to include his effort with Michael Jones
on 1985’s album Solstice
, Angel In My Stocking actually represents David’s fourth holiday season album. Surprisingly Angel In My Stocking is a very limited edition that in its current format was originally released last year via David’s website. Much like his prior effort Christmas Eve
, released over 10 years ago, he elegantly combines traditional adaptations with original compositions giving us something borrowed and something new.
Courageously, David initiates the album with a brand new original composition with the stunning self-titled track. The cascading use of the keys interchanged with the soft touch verses illustrates the alternative characteristics of an angel: the ability to be both animated and serene at any given time. Transforming to the traditional we are presented the very popular carol “Jingle Bells”, though Lanz adds his very unique rendition giving this version a most joyous ring.
The above sequence continues throughout the album that incorporates trusted traditional carols with auspicious original compositions. Just check out the flowing celebrative conversion of “Good King Wenceslas” alongside the rather rigid but regal original “Renaissance”. Fans of Lanz may find the latter somewhat familiar. It is a stripped down interpretation from a portion of the “World At Peace” orchestrated suite that was introduced on his Grammy nominated album East Of The Moon. Also taken from the same movement are “unplugged” renditions of “Prayer Of Peace” and “Transformation”. Considering the artist’s original theme of world peace, its spirit and original intent mesh perfectly with the merriment of the Christmas.
Also sandwiched between the soothing lullaby of the almost unrecognizable “Away In A Manger” and “We Three Kings” is the rather out of place “Standing In The Autumn Sun” at least as far as the title of the track is concerned. Originally found as a bonus track on the Japanese version of Finding Paradise, perhaps this was the artist’s gift to those fans that have the domestic version of the disc.
Merging contemporary material with the trusted tradition carols, this album has the fingerprints of Lanz written all over it. With no official record label release, this limited edition disc is once again available at the artist’s website. Presented in a simple but bold red sleeve embossed with an angel decal, Angel In My Stocking certainly would bring “glad tidings” to anyone’s Christmas stocking. What’s in your stocking?