Bobby Rodriguez

Happiest Time of the Year

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This promo disc is the first of what its promoters hope will be a long line of albums which combine the technologies of digital recording and telephone marketing strategies. The purchaser uses a prepaid Verizon phone card to obtain this extended single, Happiest Time of the Year, which has four separate versions of the same song, done in ballad and pop, and vocal and instrumental styles. The objective is to regain some of the popularity that singles once held with the album-buying public. Bobby Rodriguez, who was nominated for a 2000 Grammy for his Latin Jazz Explosion, is the musical leader on this experiment. His high-energy trumpet is heard on all the tracks, vocal and instrumental. He's joined by legendary bass player Abraham Laboriel, along with Alex Acuna, Barry Pohlman, and Mike Watts. Both the pop vocal and instrumental versions are done with Latin beat. The ballad/vocal version is graced by the voice of Darlene Koldenhoven and Alan Paul, formerly of the Manhattan Transfer, while the vocal/pop features Koldenhoven with backup singers. While not commenting on the marketing gambit, it would have been better if the promoters had used a more familiar commercial holiday tune to make their point rather than an original that does not have all that much to commend it. But Rodriguez and his friendly performers do their very best to make it work.

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