Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
For the next several weeks on our mega Friday night blog, Christmas music, with many selections you’ll never hear on FM radio. This week we open with appropriate fanfare. From our first group’s website:
Under the direction of brass-icon, John Stevens, and comprised of the finest professional brass players in the Midwest, the Isthmus Brass is Wisconsin’s premiere large brass ensemble. Named for a strip of land between the lakes of Mendota and Monona in Madison the IB was established in 2009 as some of the most high profile brass players in the region looked for a way to collaborate and perform together. They initially decided on a course of performing charitable Christmas Concerts especially for the Porchlight Homeless Charity and at retirement homes in Madison. Since then the group has taken off on the professional concert circuit and is currently being selected to perform on concert series and music festivals throughout the Midwest.
The Isthmus Brass performs in Wisconsin next month. See where and when here.
Now we listen to 34-year old British singer-songwriter Jessie J and a track from her first Christmas album.
“I had so much fun recording this holiday album, I did it in 14 days around my Summer tour, flying back and forth to LA from Europe,” Jessie J said in a statement. “I love Christmas music and finally had the opportunity to record a Christmas album. I hope you enjoy the music with your loved ones and create magical memories at my favorite time of the year.”
The album is “This Christmas Day.” Jessie J is backed by Boyz II Men.
Grammy-nominated vocalist Jessie J is not to be confused with jazz saxophonist Jessy J
In 2017 he was 82 and still going strong. It was also 49 years since he recorded his first (and last) Christmas Album. Five years ago He brought along brought along his trumpet with a 45-piece orchestra, a 10-piece rhythm section and a 32-member choir.
Alpert has earned 15 Gold and 14 Platinum records, most with his band, the Tijuana Brass. His latest album, “Sunny Side of the Street,” was released on September 30, 2022.
This is an unlikely duet. Dion, he of “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” fame, teamed up with country and Christian star Amy Grant in 2020.
“I was talking with a friend about how the world this year can use a little life-giving love and harmony,” said Dion.
“I told him that Christmas was the grace that changed my life and that I was looking forward to a shot of that this year. The next day, I got together with [co-writer] Mike [Aquilina] and I picked up the guitar, started singing and words started to flow. Later I was walking with my buddy [and co-writer] Steve Bottari and he started singing along — with some new words. The song just seemed to write itself, a gift to finish off this challenging year. From the start I heard Amy Grant’s voice on it; she just sounds like Christmas to me. I sent the track to her and she fell in love with it and added a beautiful counter-melody which makes it really sublime.”
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
More holiday music next week.
Our close is from a nominee for next year’s Grammy Awards to be presented in February.
Best Regional Roots Music Album
For albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new vocal or instrumental regional roots music recordings.
Halau Hula Keali’i O Nalani – Live At The Getty Center
In keeping with our theme this video was recorded in Los Angeles in 2014.