Title - 'The Gathering'
Artist - Amber Weekes
A popular and youthful jazz singer, Amber Weekes has released her first Christmas album, The Gathering (out October 1st, 2020).
Here, she utilizes Mark Cargill’s arrangements for a cast of top Los Angeles-based musicians including pianists Josh Nelson, Tony Campodonico, and Eddy Olivieri, bassists John B. Williams, Adam Cohen, and Kevin Brandon, drummers Fritz Wise, Sinclair Lott, and Nathaniel Scott, guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr, Doug MacDonald, and Jacques Lesure, tenor-saxophonist Rickey Woodard, trumpeter Andrew Carney, and a string section.
Amber Weekes was born in Los Angeles to a pair of singers whose heritage as Harlemites was an important influence. A vocalist from an early age, she has sung in a countless number of Southern California clubs and venues, and performed at the New Rochelle Jazz Festival in New York and at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Amber studied singing with such teachers as Gwendolyn Wyatt, Phil Moore Jr, Catherine Hansen, Sue Fink and, most importantly, Sue Raney. She made her recording debut with her ’Round Midnight album and recently released Pure Imagination.
On The Gathering, she performs consistently stimulating versions of Yuletide favorites, plus throws in a few surprises too!
1. 'The Christmas Waltz'
2. 'I’ll Be Home For Christmas' (featuring Paul Jackson, Jr.)
3. 'My Romance (Christmas Mix)'
4. 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'
5. 'Some Children See Him'
6. 'What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve'
7. 'Winter Wonderland'
8. 'Silent Night'
9. 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!'
10. 'The Gathering'
Opening with the begins with her cheerfully lush rendition of 'The Christmas Waltz' she backs that up seamlessly with a low key, bossa-nova treatment of 'I’ll Be Home For Christmas,' which includes a rarely heard verse, and also features Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar.
The Rodgers and Hart classic 'My Romance' (with a hint of jingle bells motivating it) showcases Amber's genuine warmth for the song, whilst singing out-of-tempo, creating a dreamlike atmosphere, and then we get the vibrantly upbeat and fun 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' - treated here to a swing vibe that also allows both Woodard’s tenor and pianist Campodonico's key work to elegantly come to the fore.
Next up is a simply divine 'Some Children See Him,' which allows Amber's oh-so tender vocals to lovingly blend in with Ernie Fields Jr’s haunting bagpipes, the heartwarmingly joyous 'What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve' is up next, and then we are treated to an exuberantly free flowing 'Winter Wonderland.'
A rather delightfully sweet version of 'Silent Night' is chock full of wondrous, if not understated motion and comes complete with Nelson on keyboards, and then the album rounds out with a buoyantly carefree 'Let It Snow,' before closing on the soulfully inspiring and delightfully festive Christmas original 'The Gathering (featuring an impressive violin solo from Mark Cargill).
A delightful presence in Southern California’s jazz scene, Amber Weekes’ memorable voice, versatility and expressive style makes her one to watch and The Gathering a Christmas jazz album that one should not miss.
Amber Weekes @ Facebook
Amber Weekes @ Twitter