Monday, November 21, 2011


     David Ian is better known as Dave Ghazarian, former lead guitarist of Church of Rhythm, and current lead guitarist of Christian pop/rock group Superchick.  He was born in Canada to Armenian immigrant parents.  In an e-mail to me he wrote: "Ontario holds a special place in my heart as I was born and lived in Toronto for 10 years of my childhood and I am honored that my music is reaching you!"  In the liner notes of VINTAGE CHRISTMAS (2011, Prescott Records) he writes: "Thanks to God for the gift of a Savior and a reason to celebrate this season of hope.  Thanks for songs with meaning and for those that are just plain fun."  A press release states: "Ian sought to create a vintage sound, one that harks back to classic jazz and Christmas LP's of the 1950's."  The jazz trio used to do this is David Ian (piano, guitars, bells), Jon Estes (upright bass, cello), and Brian Fitch (drums).
     The album is comprised of songs with vocals and instrumentals.  Let's look at the former first.  'Have Yourself a merry little Christmas' showcases the sweet, soft voice of Acacia from the sister duo Tal & Acacia, and includes these lyrics of well wishes: "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Let your heart be light/From now on our troubles will be out of sight/Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Make the yuletide gay/From now on our troubles will be miles away."  'Let it Snow' was written in 1945 by Julie Styne and Sammy Cahn, and features the cool, relaxed vocals of Andre Miguel Mayo singing these romantic words: "When we finally kiss goodnight/How I'll hate goin' out in the storm/But if you really hold me tight/All the way home I'll be warm/The fire is slowly dyin'/And my dear we're still good-byin'/But as long as you love me so/Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."  'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' is performed quietly by Acacia and is a call to worship the Christ child: "Joyful all ye nations rise/Join the triumph of the skies/With angelic hosts proclaim/Christ is born in Bethlehem/Hark! The herald angels sing/Glory to the newborn King!"  'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open Fire) was written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells in 1946.  The version here is quite traditional.  Acacia sings it, painting a perfect picture of the holidays: "Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe/Help to make the season bright/Tiny tots with their eyes all a-glow/Will find it hard to sleep tonight/They know that Santa's on his way/He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh."  'Christmas Time with You' is the final vocal track and there are two versions of it on the album.  It is an original composition by David Ian himself, and nicely complements the rest of the album.  The first version is performed by Andre Miguel Mayo and includes these dreamy lyrics: "Icy streets are white and slick you know/Wear your cozy boots, we'll float through the snow/And with our rosy cheeks we'll sing (3X)."  The second version is a duet between Mayo and his now wife, Acacia.  It includes this additional lyric: "Christmas time with you/Forget the weather/Let's get together dear/I wish you were here now/Whatever the reason/We long for this season."  A press release states the song was "inspired by Ian's long-distance relationship with the woman who became his wife in 2009."
     Instrumentally this album holds its own.  'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' written in 1938, is given a subdued, slowed down treatment.  It would be good for dining by candlelight.  'The Christmas Walz' by Paul Francis Webster and George Cates, has a playful spirit to it.  It makes me want to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  'Home for the Holidays' sounds like a musical interlude or intermission and is my least favourite.  Bing Crosby took 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' to the top ten of the record chart in 1943.  The version here is pretty and could be playing in a small boutique while you are doing your Christmas shopping and sipping on hot cider.  'Silent Night' is played in such a way that it will help you contemplate and meditate on the birth of Christ and what it means to you.
     Ian related to me: "I really enjoyed making this record and I am hoping this will be the first of several solo projects I do in the jazz genre."  VINTAGE CHRISTMAS should be picked up by fans of artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, and Judy Garland.  I'm rating this fine holiday album 80%.  For more info visit