Arsenio Orteza

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New or recent releases

Music
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 12/14/17, 02:45 pm

The Christmas Wish

Herb Alpert

This 15-track holiday smorgasbord isn’t so much a throwback to the easy-listening Christmas collections of yore as it is an apotheosis of that now all-but-extinct genre. As one would expect, trumpet gilds the melodies, but essentially Alpert and the co-billed symphony and choir sparkle as one, creating a cockles-warming mood that not even the perennially silly “Santa Baby” can deflate. Deflating the silliness is a quietly majestic arrangement of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” that brings the festivity to a close.

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A flood of creativity

Music | Trouble No More makes Bob Dylan’s ‘Gospel period’ difficult to dismiss
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 12/11/17, 09:25 pm

To fathom the significance of Columbia/Legacy’s latest Bob Dylan box, Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13/1979-1981, one should remember the following:

In August 1979, Dylan—who’d been raised Jewish and for 16 years had been the symbol par excellence of rock ’n’ roll’s protean possibilities—released Slow Train Coming, an album bursting at its blues-rock seams with evangelical Christian fervor. It caught everyone, even the musicians and the producers who helped him make it, off guard.

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New or recent releases

Music
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 11/18/17, 11:41 pm

Christmas Christmas

Cheap Trick

Most of these songs are bang-zoom-crazy covers of Yuletide numbers made semi-famous by Wizzard, Slade, Charles Brown, Chuck Berry, the Ramones, the Kinks, Harry Nilsson, and Saturday Night Live. The exceptions: an ill-fitting go at tradition (“Silent Night”), two rocking Cheap Trick originals (“Merry Christmas Darlings” and the title cut), and a prayerful Cheap Trick original called “Our Father of Life” that sounds like what John Lennon might’ve come up with if he’d believed in “mak[ing] the holidays bright in honor of Your Son.”

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