Jason Paul Curtis | These Christmas Days

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Holiday: Jazz Jazz: Swing/Big Band Moods: Mood: Christmas
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These Christmas Days

by Jason Paul Curtis

Jason Paul Curtis swings back into December with eight sparkling original odes to the season plus two standards, celebrating Friends, Fatherhood and Romance in the most wonderful time of the year!
Genre: Holiday: Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. (Everybody's Waitin' for The) Man with the Bag
2:48 $0.99
2. I'll Feel Christmas
2:42 $0.99
3. Christmas Breakfast
2:47 $0.99
4. December Again
3:04 $0.99
5. I Want Snow
3:42 $0.99
6. These Christmas Days
4:33 $0.99
7. Came Winter
3:56 $0.99
8. Christmas Clear
3:06 $0.99
9. New Year's Vacation
2:22 $0.99
10. The Way You Look Tonight
5:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Everybody’s Waitin’ for the) Man with the Bag – While not as well-known as Let it Snow or Winter Wonderland, Curtis breathes a blast of arctic oxygen into the Kay Starr classic, kicking off the set with the original arrangement performed with zeal by Swing Shift. One of only two covers in the entire list, Curtis sets the voltage and tone of the first third, echoing the romping big band vocal-rich vinyl Christmas traditions of the past. Arrangement by Scott Silbert.
I’ll Feel Christmas – Swing Shift follows up with the first original of the set, an energetic, Motown-inspired love letter to the celebration of December 1st. Curtis brings an unabashed sentimental-turned-contemporary feeling of Everytown joy while delighting in the “thousand smiling faces round a giant hemlock tree” that highlights his ability to simultaneously capture a (tree-lighting) moment and devise a catchy hook. Tom Anderson and Matt Trimboli solo.
Christmas Breakfast – Enter the on-your-marks-get-set-go of the gift-feast as the kids tear through their tree-side wrapped booty. The second of the originals, Breakfast has the feel of a frantic ‘50s Cuban floorshow as seen from the kitchen with a fresh cup of joe. Curtis’s dense storytelling has him dad-happily flip flip flipping pancakes as the rip rip ripping ensues, and there might even be a present in there for Dad at the end.
December Again – Curtis pivots to Swinglab for the first of two originals featuring Isabella Curtis. “2004, you looked just like a gift on the floor” begins a 13-year walk through a father and daughter’s Christmas memories, tenderly recalling their picking out and carrying home their annual holiday trees. Albertson and Schiff provide lithe guitar and flute solos in the second chorus, and Bella joins Dad at the end in a delightful vocal duo.
I Want Snow –Bella shines alongside dad and Swinglab in a contrafact, waltzy, father-daughter conversation about where to spend Christmas. “I really love ‘Baubles, Bangles and Beads’ and almost included it on the album,” says the elder Curtis. “Listening through the progressions, though, I started imagining this back-and-forth between me and Bella in the car, and I Want Snow just wrote itself.” Annapolis singer/pianist Jeremy Ragsdale fills out the first half/second chorus piano solo with aplomb, and clarinetist Dave Schiff rounds out the second half brightly. Both Curtises blend vocal harmonies throughout in what already feels like a new holiday standard.
These Christmas Days – Curtis admits that after revisiting his title track a week after the album was mastered, he discovered his subliminal inspiration. “I realized I was channeling the 80’s holiday Folgers commercial I grew up with – ‘Peter Comes Home’ – and I was strangely OK with that.” Curtis wrote the Swinglab-recorded original as a song sequel to 2012’s Lovers Holiday title track with the parents celebrating wintry days at home with the kids during the last week of the year. “I wanted to capture that easy feeling of all the days of Christmas break. These Christmas Days feels like a throwback to my own childhood.” Ray Caddell solos flugelhorn.
Came Winter – Swing Shift opens the romantic act three with Curtis’s driving tribute to George Michael. “I was sitting around thinking about ‘Last Christmas’ and George’s leaving us Christmas Day, 2016, and I decided to add my shine to the ‘Christmas Breakup’ canon of holiday song, “ he says. Curtis once again showcases his knack for story and punchline with a rollicking swinger that shows off not only Ragsdale’s imaginative arranging prowess but Curtis’s own yaw of a vocal range and the band’s powerful swagger. Tom Anderson solos tenor.
Christmas Clear – The seventh original employs Swinglab’s subtle Freddy Green-esque approach to a (clearly) romantic new song that sits squarely in the tradition of Let it Snow.
Curtis spins a light yarn to his honey, touching on the “Christmas Clear” facts of why he fell in love with her last Christmas. Mabalot and Albertson solo piano and guitar.
New Year’s Vacation – Curtis continues the romantic vein with the eighth original: “I almost included What are You Doing New Year’s Eve, which is wonderful, but then I realized I wanted my own NYE song, so I wrote this.” There’s nothing like the coziness of a snug getaway while “..outside, the snow wind is freezing, but inside, this firelight’s so pleasing, so let’s hide, away from the world for awhile.” Swing Shift’s gentle swing makes this a pure couple’s delight with Tom Anderson on the flute solo.
The Way You Look Tonight – Curtis explains the reason he chose this to end the album: “When I think of this song, I think of my wife. It’s the perfect romantic complement to the holiday season. ‘When the world is cold’ is all I need to put it squarely in winter.” He goes on: It takes me to last winter when my family and I were snowed in Virginia’s Homestead resort, and we danced in a huge ballroom to a local combo. My wife never looked so beautiful; it might as well have been New Year’s Eve all over again.” John Albertson’s tender bossa chords blend perfectly with Curtis’s interpretation as do the rest of SwingLab to round out the cold, dark season with sparkle and romance.



to write a review

Joe Ross, Roots Music Report

A splendid, picturesque jazz holiday album
In 2012, Jason Paul Curtis thrilled us with his debut “Lover’s Holiday.” Now, “These Christmas Days” continues musical holiday magic inspired by friends, fatherhood and romance. Smooth vocalist Curtis delivers his quaint, colorful lyrics with evocative confidence. The arrangements vary from intimate to lively. “December Lively” and “I Want Snow” introduce his teen-aged daughter Isabella in vocal duets written just for them. What potential she has! The proud father says, “She’s a total natural and runs circles around me.”

The album opens with his interpretation of Irving Taylor and Dudley Brooks’ “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for the) Man with the Bag.” The top-notch stage band “Swing Shift” also accompanies Curtis on four of his eight originals. It’s a big sound with inspiring expression featuring trumpets, saxophones, trombones and a strong rhythm section. The second half of the album is mostly Curtis’ formidable band “Swinglab” with six accomplished instrumentalists. Curtis’ originals are pleasant statements of fun, heart and romance. I especially enjoyed the sentiments of “I’ll Feel Christmas,” “Christmas Breakfast” and “New Year’s Vacation.” A beautiful arrangement of Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ “The Way You Look Tonight” brings this wonderful project to conclusion. For a splendid, picturesque jazz holiday album, “yule” want to check this one out! (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)