If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing the same holiday tunes over and over – especially since they go into heavy rotation everywhere by mid-November.
The talented husband and wife team of Gloria Munoz and Mark Feinman – Mark is one-third of the jazz trio La Lucha – had that feeling and did something about it. They wrote music and lyrics for ten new holiday songs, then teamed up with the great musician and singer Adrian Cunningham to produce an album called New Holiday Classics for Arbors Records.
A diverse cast of musicians came “together” to safely record this music in studios across continents, doing tunes in a variety of music genres.
“We listen to the same holiday songs year after year after year. But this year is different because we are different. 2020 changed the world in unimaginable ways,” said Munoz, an award-winning writer of prose and poetry.
Backed by the trio La Lucha of chart-topping Everybody Wants To Rule The World, the album features guest singers Camila Meza, Clairdee, and Jamieson. Cunningham sings on six songs, including the two straight-ahead jazz tracks; and he plays tenor saxophone, clarinet, and flute throughout the album.
“We’re fans of Adrian.” said Feinman. “I’ve gotten a chance to play with him on numerous occasions.”
Both La Lucha and Cunningham record for Arbors Records in Clearwater. When Mark took the project to Rachel Domber, who runs Arbors, she suggested he include Cunningham.
“Adrian has a really great sense of humor and we thought he’d bring that to the songs,” Feinman said. “And he really nailed it.”
What attracted Munoz was Cunningham’s singing.
“He has that classic quality to his voice.” She said.
Cunningham, reached in New York, said the project gave him a chance to do something new and different.
“Working with Mark and Gloria was a wonderful musical departure for me from my regular musical outings, into a realm of new and exciting music for me to dig my teeth into,” Cunningham said. ” This songwriting team have come up with some wonderful new music, and I’m deeply flattered that they considered me to help deliver their songs to the world. Interpreting brand new music is always a challenge, but these songs are so damn good, how could I not enjoy performing them? And I hope our fans enjoy hearing them!”
Soulful singer Jamieson the album’s first guest on “Starlight,” a power ballad focused on how to approach the holidays after loss. Jamieson also turns up the funk in a danceable R&B song, “No Time of Year Like Christmas.”
“Nochebuena” features Chilean singer and guitarist Camila Meza, along with a full cast, including percussion and strings on this Vallenato Cha-cha. San Francisco based vocalist Clairdee is backed by strings on the hope-filled ballad “New Year’s Day,” arranged by NEA Jazz Master, Dick Hyman. Adrian & La Lucha closes out the album with “Snowfall,” a timely song about unity and change.
Composers Muñoz & Feinman said about the album, “With New Holiday Classics, we set out to write and record all new original holiday music for people making an effort to reconnect with their joy this holiday season. It won’t be easy, but we know that music always helps.”
While the album is out in 2020, the first live shows around this album will likely be in 2021 at the Palladium and elsewhere. Stay tuned and in the meantime, get this album and listen to some brand new holiday tunes this season.
More info about Adrian or La Lucha at AdrianCunningham.com & LaLuchaMusic.com