Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...
...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre. So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category. Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the Chicago
Tribune, I can only offer my recommendations. You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks. In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
Just a quick recommendation this time out...
This yuletide season I'm playing my usual assortment of holiday music,
including my favorite compilation, Tis the Season. But I'm also happily
adding Christmas Is Here, this brand spanking new recording by talented
singer-songwriter Jen Zias, a Chicago-based vocalist who essays a myriad of
vocal techniques in her approach to music. Likewise, she and her producer
work in a lot of diverse musical styles on many of the holiday chestnuts
(you'll get Gospel, blues, jazz, and even bossa). Having worked side by
side with the talented Ms. Zias for neigh on 15 years, I can attest to her
sublime vocal dexterity.
I have a particular love for the disc's one original, "One Kiss For Christmas"
wherein Zias vocally contacts the spirit of the late Karen Carpenter and adds
a deep sensuality all her own. This standout track is sure to become a
perennial in my future holiday collections. I also highly recommend the
multi-part harmony, a capella version of the Vince Guaraldi classic
"Christmas Time Is Here" which concludes the disc as well as the
jazz/cabaret influenced "That's What I Want For Christmas." I'm also rather
partial to the inclusion of the Bacharach-David standard "What the World
Needs Now Is Love" where Zias duets with the honey voiced David Sherman.
Don't forget to check out previous soundtrack recommendations by visiting
Next Recommendation: TBA
The CD cover and a holiday themed
portrait of the lovely Ms. Zias.