CD Review: “A Little Christmas” (Legacy Five)
This project is an interesting collection of contrasts. It contains old and new songs, everything from lush orchestration to Tim Parton’s country-tinged rendition of “A Little Peace on Earth,” and, oddly enough, everything from a song protesting the secularization of Christmas (“Christmas with a Capital ‘C'”) to a medley of secular Christmas songs (“Piano Christmas Medley”).
Arranging “A Little Peace on Earth” to bring out a country flavoring was probably a good production call. If Parton–or any other pianist/vocalist replacing a legend–attempted to sing as close to Bennett’s style as possible, comparisons would be completely unavoidable. But Parton is clearly charting his own course.
The title track, “We Need a Little Christmas,” also serves as the title track for Triumphant Quartet’s new Christmas project. Comparing the two, Legacy Five’s arrangement and orchestration has a slight edge.
Frank Seamans takes the lead on “Winter Memories.” It is not surprising that this Luverne Isbell song has the feel of a novelty song, since her best known previous song is probably the Cathedrals’ “Mexico.”
The production team of Steve Mauldin, Tim Parton, and Scott Fowler brought out some new elements in Legacy Five’s sound. The two tracks on which this is most notable are also the two standout tracks of the project. While I never heard any resemblance before, Fowler’s strong lead on “Welcome to this World” suggests comparisons to, of all people, Steve Green. On the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, the production team brings out more warmth and resonance in Glenn Dustin’s voice than on any previous track he has recorded with the group.
Especially if those two tracks are indicative of what we can expect in the future from Legacy Five, this iteration of the group shows great potential.