I needed an ambush—something more—because I’m holding a pity-party. No invitations!
By RA Monaco
It freed my soul, untied the knots in my spirit and gave me a sense of the warmth and genuine love for others that, for many of us, the Holiday Season is supposed bring. Hearing Doug Webb’s to-be-released recording of “I’ll be Home for Christmas” caught me off-guard. “Magical” that’s the only word that actually describes the lush beauty of Doug’s newest recordings.
My first listen was a personal transformation of my human ears into elf ears—I’ll explain. I listen to music every day and like many other people, I love the staples of holiday music. This year, despite my listening-efforts, those tried and true melodies weren’t lifting me or penetrating my soul—the world just seems so heavy.
Nothing about the past few weeks feels like the holidays—I’m around L.A. at the moment and while the cold and snow of Chicago might have made things seem a little different, I just wasn’t feeling it. I needed an ambush—something more—because I’m holding a pity-party. No invitations!
These days I’m fat, have a white beard and I’m wearing a red-hoodie sweatshirt—but don’t mistake me for Santa, the Grinch is here. There will be no Christmas presents for anyone—I’m tired of consumerism and although it has given me pleasure in the past, life’s just too tough these days, not just for some but for many. There are no decorations surrounding me and the Christmas spirit seems like a lost memory from when my kids were young—I miss being part of their daily lives more than I can say—but that’s part of my having grow-up too.
Like I said, I needed an ambush. Doug and I have known each other since the 70’s; it’s not often that we communicate these days. So, when I received a Facebook message requesting my email, I actually thought it was a phishing scam. I got in touch with Doug wanting to confirm that he was asking for my email and soon thereafter, I discovered in my inbox that he had sent me his newest Christmas recordings for Rhombus Records—currently scheduled for release the first Tuesday after Halloween 2015.
There are some people on this planet that I’m going to listen to because I know how gifted they are—Doug Webb falls into this category. He’s featured on hundreds of recordings with notable artists like Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Quincy Jones, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel, Queen Latifah and Cher—his television recording credits include the Family Guy orchestra and the theme song from Law and Order.
Along with other notable musicians, we played together on an award winning big band in college—you can color that into my appreciation for his playing however you like. But, what I can honestly say about Doug Webb is that I’m genuinely proud of him. Not just because of his musical accomplishments, but because he’s a loving father who raised a son that recently became a lawyer and because Doug remains the same salt-of-the-earth guy that I’ve always known him to be—sensitive—and someone who thinks of others. I can hear his humility in the beauty of his sound.
In this recording, Doug is backed by a full orchestra—strings and all. Sadly, at this moment, I don’t yet know who arranged I’ll be home for Christmas for this particular recording—bravo! The instrumentation and colors in those voicing’s excites the listener’s curiosity but never detracts from the beauty of Doug’s sensual interpretations of this classic melody. I was ambushed by the understated simplicity of Doug’s playing and the richness of this orchestral jazz recording—it snuck-up on me from behind and penetrated my “Grinch-shield.”
After hearing the recordings, I reached out to Doug and asked for his permission to upload the recordings—thirteen in all—for this article. His response was “sure whatever you want to do.” After thinking more about the idea and despite Doug’s generosity, I elected to upload only one, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” The reason is simple—I want you to buy the album.
Thank you, Doug Webb—I’ll be home for Christmas!
The piano player and arranger of this orchestral track is Cory Alan—lovely!
As it might have seemed a little unfair to tease folks with only one recording this Holiday Season and with Doug’s permission, I decided to share another from next year’s release—Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Again, Cory Alan is the arranger with Doug doing the orchestrations, enjoy!
Doug’s interpretations are true to his free-styling musical approach in this recording. The words and lyrics of the old carol 'O Holy Night' were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847.