James Brown – Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto (And a few more!)
“I’m got a few I always enjoy listening to this time of year. First up, “Someday at Christmas” by the Jackson 5. It always makes me smile, mainly due to the bass playing on the track. Not exactly sure who it is but it’s definitely from the school of James Jameson. Next up, “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown. That track just makes the world feel like a better place, and it’s a perfect excuse to get into his Xmas album!”
“Chris Kamara’s Christmas album was bought for me as a joke present last year. I put it on and it blew me away! I discovered that some of London’s finest in on this record, including a tasty arranging from NYJO Alumni Callum Au! Finally, I have to include Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Joy to the World”. Their whole Xmas album is pretty epic and a perfect release in so many ways (if Christmas music is your thing, of course!).”
London Vocal Project – O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Freedom’s On The Way)
“This is a perfect opportunity to share my other half’s Xmas release with his choir, the London Vocal Project. This was released this week for Human Rights Day and with all proceeds going to Amnesty International it’s well worth a plug. You’ll find that it also includes a host of NYJO alumni among those involved. Pete (my husband) has had a long association with NYJO as a composer as well as having taught various band-members – past and present – as the composition teacher at The Royal Academy of Music. Go and support if you can!”
Herbert Howells – A Spotless Rose
“A bit fusty and un-hip I know, but I tend to get a bit Golden Bough this time of year. When it comes to this composition, I just love the harmony, the shape of the melody and the sense in the text that it addresses wider issues around Midwinter, Solstice, nature’s cycle; and that the Christian message is in some ways a custodian of that ancient lore rather than a supplanter of it. I remember singing it in school and as a student and it reminds me of that lovely end-of-term build up to Christmas. Also Howells uses beautiful voicing and harmony that would work just as well in a big band.”
Bringing it home are the Trustees!