by: Constance Tucker
Well, it is that time of year again; Christmas time. A time of celebration of family, friends and all the good things that each of us has been bestowed with this year. Music is always the perfect back drop for reminiscing and entertaining and this year is rich with new releases for Christmas. Donna Singer and Doug Richards have come together again—this time for a fun and energetic Christmas CD, Kiss Me Beneath the Mistletoe. The CD is comprised of twelve selections and is a nice mix of familiar Christmas standards and new Christmas originals all coated with a jazz/gospel flavor that will keep any Christmas event in good cheer.
On the familiar side, we are treated with the lovely rendition of the Negro spiritual “Rise Up Shepherd,” a tender rendition of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve.” Donna and The Doug Richards Trio will get the cheer swinging on a nice in the pocket rendition of “Winter Wonderland.” Donna adds just the right amount of glee to the melody to keep it fresh yet familiar. Bill Alfred’s piano solo is clear and to the point and never loses that swinging feeling, followed by Doug Richards taking us on a nice bass ride throughout the bridge and last “A” section with drummer Mike Cervone providing a nice pulse throughout.
Four of the original selections are written by Donna’s husband, Roy Singer, who teamed up with playwright/lyricist Mitchell Uscher and lyricist Elly Koury. “Kiss Me Beneath the Mistletoe” (Usher/Singer) is a nice duet with Donna and Luis Camacho, who also sings with her on “Let It Snow.” The original music and lyrics are right at home with the usual Christmas favorites. Guesting on the CD is guitarist and composer Jeff Otis, providing a very nice instrument only waltz entitled, “Christmas Is Near.” “Christmas in My Heart” is a Richards penned original that explores the meaning of Christmas through the years with Singer exploring the upper register of her voice and allowing her gospel roots to shine through.
If you are looking for a holiday treat that will warm your guests and lift your spirits for the season, do not miss the opportunity to add Kiss Me Beneath the Mistletoe to your holiday collection. Certainly a kiss worth having.
Tracks: Kiss Me Beneath The Mistletoe; On New Year’s Eve; In The Stillness Of The Night; Christmas Is Near; It Must Have Been The Mistletoe; Rise Up Shepherd; Let It Snow; Christmas In My Heart; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve; Born This First Christmas Night; Winter Wonderland.
Personnel: Donna Singer: vocals. The Doug Richards Trio: Doug Richards: bass; Bill Alfred: piano; Mike Cervone: drums.
Guest Artists: Jeff Otis: guitar; Luis Camacho; trumpet/vocal; Debra Courtright: soprano vocal; Crystal Tweed: alto vocal; Randy Hennig: tenor vocal.