Crystal Lewis – Holiday
HOLIDAY! A Collection of Christmas Classics
(Metro One – 2000)
by Paula Edelstein
The lovely Crystal Lewis has released her first Christmas CD on the Metro One label and it’s a beauty. Appropriately titled HOLIDAY! A Collection of Christmas Classics, the Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning vocalist performs 12 jazz interpretations of seasonal favorites. Accompanied by Alan Pasqua on piano, Peter Erskine on drums, Dave Carpenter on acoustic bass and, Crystal Lewis’ voice shines against the beautiful string orchestration conducted and arranged by Alan Pasqua. Crystal also co-arranged seven of the songs with Alan including “Joy To The World,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High.”
Influenced by the inimitable Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin, Crystal asserts her appreciation of their musical styles through a reflection of her own spiritual and sensory representations. Her soulful nuance, sensitive phrasings, and emotional treatment on these 12 songs act as a catalyst for the members of her ensemble and together they reach a creative evolution. One of the most beautiful moments on the CD is Alan Pasqua’s piano solo on “O Holy Night,” played in perfect balance with Crystal’s engaging vocals. The sentiment and technique artfully balanced against the opulence of the string orchestra speaks volumes about their freedom of personal expression within a self-defined program. HOLIDAY music never sounded so good!