Chestnuts ready to roast? Christmas tree decorated? Advent calendar started? Then leave behind the hardships of the past year and endulge in the festive season. Take a step back in time and celebrate with the vintage sound of a 1958 Hammond organ and a jazz/bossa trio rendering some Xmas classic tunes in a lounge-exotica and Stax soul style.
Hammond Express is back with a Christmas album where the old classics take on a new feel. We Wish You A Merry Christmas becomes an irresistibile fast bossa reminiscent of Cal Tdjader whilst Jingle Bells increases tempo with a latin/jazz rhythm and a Jackie Davies influenced organ sound. Other Christmas hits are rearranged in a surprisingly Memphis soul style: White Christmas and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town sound both groovy and close to 1960’s soul act Booker T. & The MG’s.
No swing, no party: so here are more swinging ballroom classics. Winter Wonderland and Let It Snow get the Hammond Express treatment based on lounge organ, glockenspiel and sleigh bells, while Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is another 1960’s bossanova standard.
The other tracks in the album – although not strictly Christmas tunes – are arranged with a classic Xmas Hammond style: Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade sounds like a funky brasilian partido alto’s party tune, Henry Mancini’s Moon River (Breakfast At Tiffany’s) is a 1960’s jazz waltz for organ trio and vibraphone, Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll swings along with a cool tribute to the great jazz organists of all time – Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Johnny “Hammond” Smith – featuring a flute solo by guest musician Dario Cecchini (Funk Off, Italian Secret Service).
Following Vertigo Bossa (2018), Another Stepping Soul (2011) and Rendez-Vous (2003), We Wish You A Bossa Christmas (IRMA Records) is the fourth album by Hammond Express, aka keyboard player Francesco Gazzara plus fellow musicians Sir Blofeld (bass) and Mirtao (drums, percussion).