Ottmar Liebert

Christmas + Santa Fe

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On his second holiday collection, Ottmar Liebert works variations on a series of familiar Christmas tunes, typically playing his acoustic guitar over Mark Clark's busy percussion and Jon Gagan's quiet bass in tones that suggest the Southwest. Horns turn up here and there, notably on "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," but for the most part this is a low-key effort. Liebert has some fun with "Silent Night," playfully changing tempos, and he discovers concordances between "O Christmas Tree" and the theme from The Third Man, so there are witty musical touches in the performances. A holiday mood is maintained throughout, albeit a quietly festive one, so this is good music to put on as background to your seasonal celebrations.

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