All earphone listening party

All earphone listening party
All earphone listening party
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Do we really need another Christmas album? Local music dynamo Sampson Trinh answers emphatically “Yes!” Sampson believes other artist’s holiday releases have gotten lazy, just re-hashing the same old thing. “The Christmas Project” is the latest release from the The Upper East Side Big Band (a name Sampson admits is way too long). About the release he says, “My rule, when it came to arranging these songs –it can’t sound like the original. It has to be my own take on it.”

 

The result is a compilation of alternate takes on tunes we’re familiar with (“Christmas Don’t Be Late,” ‘Merry Christmas Baby”) and two originals by Sampson (“Turn Your Tube On,” “Branch, Trunk, Stump”). Influences on Sampson by Harry Connick Jr. and Nelson Riddle show up throughout the album.

 

It’s also a compilation of some of the best vocalists and musicians in the area with Sampson as the contractor, “I’m a contractor to Richmond’s “lounge union.” It’s Richmond’s best musicians and I’m just blessed to be working with them.”

 

 

The album has been 8 years in the making. Sampson used to hum the melody to “Turn Your Tube On” when he was an elementary school music teacher fresh out of college. The project was put on hold while Sampson worked with the Richmond Symphony and Chorus and did several stints with SPARC doing music and choreography for “Live Art” and last year’s “Tree of Life.” Out of that, Sampson was able to work up John Lennon’s “Happy X-mas (War is Over)” which shows up here.

 

Listen5Funding came via Kickstarter, which exceeded its goal, and Sampson paid off his backers with a unique catered preview party at The Answer Brew Pub (which I attended). Besides the T-shirts and CDs, the album was broadcast via headsets to everyone, including some bar staff. Used at events like TED Talks, the headset concept works great. You can listen, have conversations or even dance (as some did) – all at once. Co-producer Lance Koehler visually grooved as everyone enjoyed his work, much as a proud dad views his new newborn child.

 

The official CD release party is this Friday at Ashland Coffee and Tea. It is sure to be a present not to be missed. You can also find the CD, in extremely limited release, at Plan 9 Records. For me, standouts on the CD include vocalists Laura Ann Singh and Adrian Duke. My favorite cut is “Merry Christmas, Baby” featuring Adrian, hot guitars by John Conley and Chris Vasi and Toby Whitaker on trombone.

 

Here are preview links to 3 cuts.

All I Want for Christmas is You

Turn Your Tube On

Happy Christmas, War Is Over

 Album

 

NOTE: In the holiday bluegrass vein, A Magical Grassical Christmas With The DePue Brothers happens this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, promising a “festive evening of holiday music infused with bluegrass, jazz, blues, rock and classical!”

 

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for putting in the links to the u tube versions. I enjoyed them very much.
    BTW, I love your reviews and use their valuations all the time.

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