is a delightful collection of Christmas music that contains both sacred and secular songs. Joe Curry’s third album to date is made up of piano solos, piano and vocal selections, and piano with light accompaniment (all acoustic). I prefer Christmas albums that have a little different spin on at least some of music, and this album has a mix of traditional approaches and some very original interpretations. “Angels We Have Heard On High” has an infectiously joyful energy and some jazzy improvisational sections in this opening piano solo. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” has a beautiful, graceful flow, and features Betsy McCann on flute and Sara Bergsven on French horn as well as Curry on piano. The title track is an elegant duet for piano and cello (Noah Turner Rogoff). “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” is a bittersweet duet for piano and sax (Mary McWeeny) that really touches the heart. The three vocal tracks are “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” and “O Holy Night.” Curry’s very pleasant tenor voice is clear and confident. “Silent Night” is such a gentle arrangement that you can visualize falling snow illuminated by a bright night sky. McCann’s flute adds a beautiful counterpoint to the piano. “Away In a Manger” begins as a lovely, flowing arrangement. The surprise is that one of the verses in played in a minor key. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before, and I like it! This solo piano track is one of the highlights of the album. “Frosty The Snowman” is a jazzy confection. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a piece that is open to a wide variety of approaches, and I love this one! An upbeat and dramatic duet for piano and sax, both musicians seem to be improvising sections and having a blast playing together. This is my favorite track on the album. “Once In Royal David’s City” is a soulful and gentle piano solo. Curry and McWeeny present a silky-smooth duet of “The First Noel” that evokes a warm, peaceful mood.
At 24, Joe Curry’s career is off to a very impressive start, and Midnight Clear
should be a welcome addition to your holiday music collection for many years to come. It is available from www.joecurry.com