Composer, showman in slippers and a bathrobe, he has a deep dedication to his craft: he’s an Entertainer. His humble service to this calling lends a certain inevitability to this announcement: Chilly Gonzales has made a Christmas album. From feudal oldies to newer holiday pop canon, A Very Chilly Christmas surveys a broad scope of seasonal repertoire and sentiment. There’s grandeur and solemnity, there’s austerity and merriment, and there’s Mariah Carey. With his unabashed loyalty to melody, Gonzales’ approach deftly navigates the myth of one shared songbook with a collection that opts for nuance over pomp. From Wenceslas to Wham, the great revelation of this collection is the restrained, distilled beauty of Gonzales’ signature minor key interpretations. A Very Chilly Christmas finds its star in The Banister Bough, the album’s sole original song. This tinseled, sugar-plum collaboration with Feist, complete with miniaturized Jeunet-esque stop-motion animated video, balances delicate whimsy with an ecological message in disguise as a home decorating tutorial. The song gently encourages us to reimagine traditions, those we claim and those we inherit, for the generations to come. Another album standout is the cover of Snow Is Falling In Manhattan by David Berman, a fellow Christmas-loving Jew. Jarvis Cocker’s fireside vocals and Feist’s ember-afterglow chorus are nestled amongst Gonzales’ piano and a flute. From solo arrangements to intricate, delicate additions of strings, bells, choir and more, A very Chilly Christmas also features Gonzales’ frequent stage and studio collaborator, cellist Stella Le Page. As a whole, the album’s gift is the space it creates for quieter moments amid the flurry and noise of the season.
Chilly Gonzales - A Very Chilly Christmas LP Released 13/11/20
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