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Something very magic

Bending Towards the Light: A Jazz Nativity
Bending Towards the Light: A Jazz Nativity
By various artists

Milan / BMG Records: 1996

This review first appeared in the December 13, 1996 issue of the North County Times.

For the past decade, some of the biggest names in jazz have gathered every Christmas in New York to present a musical version of the nativity story. Last year, they taped the event – and the result is a remarkable recording that mixes religious inspiration and jazz improvisation into an incredible whole that is a wonderful celebration of the spirit of the holy day.

Retired TV newsman Charles Kuralt narrates the story with that sonorous, velvety voice of his. Among the other stars are singer/drummer Grady Tate, bassist Ron Carter, pianist Dave Brubeck, trumpeter Jon Faddis, Latin percussionists Tito Puente and Candido, and tap dancer Jimmy Slyde.

Maybe the real stars, though, are the members of the Newark Boys Chorus – because it's the children that the celebration is for. And in their youthful voices, so imperfect and so inspiring at the same time, we hear the promise of a better future, a promise that is Christmas.