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Nashville Big Band Jazz Ensemble - Big Band Christmas Vol. 2 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 September 2001
Nashville Big Band Jazz Ensemble

Big Band Christmas Vol. 2
format: DVD-Audio
label: DTS
release year: 2002
performance: 7
sound 8
reviewed by: Brian Kahn

ImageThe first two tracks of “Big Band Christmas” start off sounding like the opening band for a late-night television show. I was waiting for a host to jump out on the screen. I first thought this to be a bit cheesy and then thought back to the era of the big bands and how they were used as introductory devices in television’s infancy. The second track, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,” after getting past the late-night television-style introduction, comes into its own. I felt myself being moved by the music, as the horns were particularly well rendered, sounding much better than most recorded horns.

As I continued to listen to the album, I found it to be on the mellow side, well suited for family holiday parties where you like to get the older generations up and dancing as well as the younger folks. The fourth track, “We Three Kings Of Orient Are,” was a bit faster paced and more dynamic overall. This faster pace continues with “Good Christian Men Rejoice” with the uptempo horn section remaining the sonic highlight. One of my favorite tracks was “Fum Fum Fum,” an upbeat and fun swing track. “Fum Fum Fum” sounded like it would be at home on any of the modern swing albums by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.

The album’s last four tracks are a bit more mellow that the tracks in the middle. I thought the “Feliz Navidad” was a bit on the cheesy lounge music side. The last track, “What Child Is This,” picks up the pace slightly to finish the album. This track again features some nice work on the drums as well as the horns, which stood out throughout the album.

This DVD-A disc, like all DTS DVD-As, provides three listening options, DVD-Audio, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. I did my listening first using the DVD-Audio tracks. Later I listened to the album again with the DTS tracks. I found the detail and imaging to be slightly better with the DVD Audio tracks. I also noted that the producers thankfully left out cheesy rear channel effects that so many album makers seem to feel obligated to do just because they can. Kudos to them. For those of you who enjoy big band music, or even those of you who are planning a multi-generation holiday party, this album will serve you well during the Christmas music months and provide you with some variety from the Christmas music on the radio.

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