Guitarist John Basile combines electric and nylon guitars with MIDI technology to create a collection of holiday favorites.
Throughout his career, John Basile has been greatly in-demand as a tasteful and melodic guitarist who has performed with many top singers and in intimate settings with major jazz artists. “Silent Night” is a bit different. Basile uses MIDI guitar technology to create colorful textures against “live” jazz guitar improvisations to create an engagingly fresh set of treatments of these holiday classics.
“It’s the best of both worlds as you combine the craft element of arranging and recording a predetermined digital accompaniment with true jazz guitar improvisation”.
But more important than how the music was performed is that the results provide an eclectic mix of melodic guitar improvisations destined to please. The guitarist picked out a dozen classic holiday themes and gave them treatments that explore a variety of moods, tempos, and rhythms while paying respect to these classic themes.
Among the highlights are a fast waltz version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” the lush backing and thoughtful playing on a moody “Lulladay” (Basile’s original) that is a little reminiscent of Bill Evans’ “Peace Piece,” a joyful “Silver Bells,” the dreamlike and quietly emotional “Silent Night,” and the boppish guitar solo on “Toyland.”
“Baby Its Cold Outside” has two guitars interacting with each other as if they were taking a vocal duet, “What Child Is This” gets a fairly adventurous improvisation, and “Christmas Time Is Here” reflects the happiness and optimism of the holiday season. The subtle Latin rhythms on many of the selections cast
“Silent Night” is just the latest accomplishment in John Basile’s productive career. Born in Boston, Basile began playing guitar when he was 12. He gained experience with R&B show bands and organ groups and then a three-month stint with vibraphonist Red Norvo led him into a career in straight-ahead jazz. After studying at Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music, he toured with an octet led by Count Basie and worked with such singers as Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, Nancy Harrow, Anita Gravine, Rosemary Clooney, Mark Murphy, and Tony Bennett, also performing with instrumentalists John Abercrombie, George Mraz, Tom Harrell, Jim Hall, Michael Brecker, and Red Mitchell. All of those artists appreciated that John Basile had his own sound, he always swung, and he uplifted their music.
John Basile, who has had parallel careers as a radiology administrator, a professional boxing judge, and a music educator and clinician, keeps busy. He also runs the String Time Jazz label and the Stringtime Production Studio creating cues for television and films.
JOHN BASILE SILENT NIGHT
(StringTime Jazz Productions)
1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3:36
2. Baby Its Cold Outside 4:49
3. Lulladay 3:38
4. Silver Bells 4:10
5. Silent Night 4:06
6. Toyland 3:23
7. Oh Tannenbaum 2:46
8. What Child Is This? 3:34
9. A Child Is Born 3:21
10. Christmas Time Is Here 4:15
11. The First Noel 2:32
12. Auld Lang Syne 2:40