Pianist Fred Hughes and his trio have added to the Christmas cannon with their release entitled, I’ll Be Home for Christmas. A collection of eleven Christmas classics performed in new and fresh ways. The trio is comprised of Hughes on piano, with Amy Shook performing on the acoustic bass and Frank Russo playing the drums. The trio covers various styles from swing to waltzes; from straight eight feel to funk. The main theme though is musicality above all else.
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” is given a work over and finds Hughes displaying supreme command of the ivories with Shook and Russo giving good support. The tune is given a funky in the pocket feel that is sure to put a smile on both the naughty and nice. “O Christmas Tree," could be called “O Swingin Tree” because this trio swings in a way that demands head bopping on this number. Even the grumpy guest in the family tree will smile with glee once this disc starts spinning in the background of your festivities.
The title track is simply beautiful, played from the heart and in a relaxed ballad manner. Hughes possesses that ever elusive combination of heart and technique, well done maestro, well done. “Silent Night” is given a touch of the church, and fittingly so.
The Fred Hughes Trio brings a family of tunes together that will add to your kinfolk’s holiday gathering. Whether you are reminiscing of days of ole or forging new ground, this is a great musical backdrop. Sophisticated and musical, this trio has certainly made the nice list. Now as far as that family member who might be naughty, well that’s for another time.
Personnel: Fred Hughes: piano; Amy Shook: bass; Frank Russo: drums.
Artist Website: http://fredhughes.com