By Derrick Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 12.24.97
[Web master’s note: Northern California film critic Derrick Bang — the eldest, youngest and only son of this site’s jazz guru, Ric Bang — began surveying the annual holiday jazz scene with this column. Take note of its brevity, which resulted from space constraints that soon vanished, as the years continued. Subsequent columns threatened to devour the entire newspaper; in great contrast, this one is succinct to the point of being terse. Ah, well; we all have to start somewhere!]
It would seem that jazz artists continue to regard holiday tunes as a good bet, because quite a number of new releases have hit the bins during the past few weeks.
It’s a grand series of cuts by a guy who knows he doesn’t need to impress listeners with needless flash; his renditions of “Silver Bells” and “Silent Night,” in particular, are poignant in their quiet clarity.
(By the way, if you like McKenna, do check out Butch Thompson’s solo piano work on Yulestride.)
For my money, Brickman did much better work on 1996’s mini-CD, Christmas Memories, packaged with Windham Hill’s The Carols of Christmas.