AG1988-2 A Fresh Aire Christmas
Produced by Chip Davis
Released on 1988
US CHART POSITION #36 . . . US NEW AGE CHART POSITION #4
. . . 6x PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
AG1988-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 9.0: XMASS CONSUMPTION. Something must have been in the egg nog in nineteen eighty-eight. By the end of the holidays, Mannheim Steamroller had their first gold and platinum records and (surprise!) they were both Christmas albums. Thus a holiday tradition was established and Mannheim traded in their Renaissance fare to become primarily purveyors of pine-scented parlor music. While the band has since milked the christmas cow to the point where someone should call animal welfare, their first two Christmas albums are rightfully considered classics in the canon. A Fresh Aire Christmas repeated the success of the first album, this time with more strings and a choir. Chip Davis’ liner notes suggest music archeology of a high order, but you should take all that with a reindeer salt lick. Davis’ delusions of himself as a modern classical composer notwithstanding, the man does present some artful arrangements of classics like “Little Drummer Boy” (this may be the best version I’ve ever heard), “Carol of the Bells” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The treatments range from renaissance whimsy (“In Dulci Jubilo”) to Gregorian chant (“Veni Veni”) to modern synthesizers (“Carol of the Bells”), and Davis displays sympathy and proficiency in his handling of each. In fact, with its tasteful variety of tones, I’d give this the nod as the best of the merry Mannheimers. It’s true that the disc occasionally dips its toes into the treacherous waters of muzak (e.g., “Traditions of Christmas”), but overall A Fresh Aire Christmas is a classy, spirited holiday interpretation that every armchair caroler should think of stocking.

AG1988-2 back cover
AG1988-2 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING    1:23
  2. HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING    3:27
  3. VENI VENI (O COME O COME EMANUEL)    4:15
  4. THE HOLLY AND THE IVY    2:58
  5. LITTLE DRUMMER BOY    4:06
  6. STILL, STILL, STILL    3:39
  7. LO HOW A ROSE E'ER BLOOMING    2:23
  8. IN DULCI JUBILO    2:43
  9. GREENSLEEVES    3:24
  10. CAROL OF THE BELLS    3:48
  11. TRADITIONS OF CHRISTMAS    (Chip Davis)    3:32
  12. CANTIQUE DE NOEL (O HOLY NIGHT)    5:19

    All songs traditional arranged by Chip Davis unless noted

CREDITS

CHIP DAVIS -- percussion, winds, data, sample vocals, conductor
JACKSON BERKEY -- keyboards and momma
RON COOLEY -- classical guitar
ERIC HANSEN -- lute and pillage
BOB JENKINS -- oboe
DAVID LOW -- cello
MAC -- midi
WILLIS ANN ROSS -- flute
ARNIE ROTH -- violin, Chicago concert master
JOHN RUTTER -- Cambridge Singers director
JOHN SHARPE -- cello
STEVEN SHIPPS -- violin (solo), Omaha concert master
MARY WALTER -- HARPing on and on
LIZ WESTPHALEN -- sample vocals
Jonathan Boen -- French horn
Barbara Butler -- trumpet, piccolo trumpet
The Cambridge Singers -- chorus
Charles Geyer -- trumpet
Dan Gingrich -- French horn
Eric Hansen (the other) -- trumpet
David (H.D.) Kappy -- French horn
Russ Knutson -- percussion
Ed Kocher -- trombone
Rex Martin -- tuba
Charlie Schuchat -- tuba
Norman Schweikert -- French horn
String section of nearly 50 violin, viola, cello and bass players -- strings
Charles Vernon -- trombone
George Vosburgh -- piccolo trumpet, trumpet
Doug Waddell -- percussion
John Boyd -- engineer, mixing
Bill Bradley -- engineer
Campbell Hughes -- engineer
Gilbert Williams -- commissioned artwork
Hirsch Design -- packaging design

return to MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1988 American Gramaphone LP/CS/CD AG/AGC1988/-2  
US October 31, 1991 American Gramaphone 2CD 8488 repackaged w. CHRISTMAS (1984) as MANNHEIM
STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS, VOLS. 1 & 2

 

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