Denver & The Mile High Orchestra - Winter Wonderland
STYLE: Jazz RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 82728-16191 LABEL: Elevation ELE1465D FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 EXTRAS: bonus DVD RELEASE DATE: 2009-09-30 RRP: £2.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I quite like a bit of big band jazz and, as many Cross Rhythms readers will know, Denver & The Mile High Orchestra have found their marketing niche by giving the great Christian public a Christian variant of the genre. Now, as Universal Music have just issued remastered versions of the classics of the two classic albums Frank Sinatra recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra, one has to say right away that Denver Bierman is no Sinatra and neither do the musos in The Mile High Orchestra play in the same sublime ballpark as Basie and co. But, to be fair, this band offer good humoured entertainment for audiences of a certain age while integrating a gospel message in between the roaring sax solos and furiously riffing brass section. Here this CD/DVD package recorded live in concert at the Trinity Auditorium in Hendersville, Tennessee cleverly take the audience on a musical journey which begins with Yuletide sentimentality ("Winter Wonderland", "Sleigh Ride") and leads to a bold proclamation of the incarnation ("O Come Emmanuel", "Joy To The World"). As well as recreating a reasonable facsimile of Goodman/Miller/Basie horn arrangements, the Mile High Orchestra also display the ability to get down with a bit of jazz funk with the drumming of Jared Ribble on "Little Drummer Boy" being particularly tasty. All in all, a reasonable stocking filler.
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Denver And The Mile High Orchestra return with this fabulous double disk live event. Bringing their unique and energetic big band sound to timeless Christmas classics and new songs, a high entertainment factor is a given at their live events. Though the band's top priority is their message, there is a strong emphasis on celebration and joy captured on this recording. Winter Wonderland also takes a worshipful turn. 'When people are entertained they often let their guard down and let go of their pre-conceived notions of Christianity. That's when God speaks to the heart of their lives' writes Denver. Brace yourself for an audio and visual treat!