Comfort & Joy
Two weeks before Christmas of 2006, flutist Lori Barmer asked if I would help her record a CD of Christmas songs as a gift for her mother. Besides the obvious time crunch, I was completely unfamiliar with her choice of songs. Her selections had special meaning for her and her family while growing up in rural North Carolina, so I had to do some research to get an idea of the feel of each piece. We both wanted the recording to have a unique jazz flavor, so not only was I her accompanist, I was also the arranger. After studying the music, I found that all of the songs didn't lend themselves to strict jazz interpretations, so I added some intros and interludes, re-harmonized chords and changed the rhythms. Thanks to our good friend and mastering expert, Joel Leipzig, we met the deadline and produced a demo CD of six songs. I decided to give the music another listen about a year later and realized that the arrangements warranted a serious recording of holiday music. John Drymon, a fine organist and arranger himself, offered to re-program the general midi sounds I used with real recorded orchestral sounds. I added four more songs and invited some musician friends to join me. The result is "Comfort and Joy," a collection that reflects several cultural influences, including German, French, English, Appalachian folk, and African-American folk. All of the songs are arranged as straight-ahead jazz, Brazilian samba rhythms, symphonic orchestrations ... even a touch of Sousa. I wish you much comfort and joy throughout the holidays! Peace, Elmer Gibson.