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Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: A Bohemian Christmas - Volume 1 (CD Review)

Ben AzzaraBy Ben Azzara on Dec 21, 2012 | Add a Comment Add a Comment (272)

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra: A Bohemian Christmas - Volume 1 (CD Review)

Since the beginning of jazz there has been jazz variations of holiday songs. Even some jazz compositions specifically written for the holidays. Not surprisingly then that classic holiday standards make an excellent foundation for some great jazz, as is true with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra’s release A Bohemian Christmas - Volume 1.

Hopefully you have made the Monday night pilgrimage to the Bohemian Caverns to hear BCJO and you have felt the power of this group in person.  This CD, even though they are holiday songs, is a terrific document of the tight and swinging group in action.  It was recorded live at a rare performance at the Strathmore Mansion, and features many of the regular players you’ll see at the Caverns.

The meat of this recording is the Nutcracker Suite as adapted by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. I grew up listening to the original as a child and this certainly captures the flavour and essence of that moving suite.  There are many other holiday classics featured, my stand-out favorites are  “A Child is Born” and “Shiny Stockings”. Nearly everyone takes great solos, and all the tunes swing nicely thanks to the dynamic rhythm section.

I’ll be listening to this album as we open presents on Christmas morning and toast the New Year. Now I’m really looking forward to hearing Volume 2 and hopefully another non-holiday based recording from BCJO soon?

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