"Christmas at Birdland" Featuring Billy Stritch, Jim Caruso and Klea Blackhurst is Now Available

christmas at birdland

Christmas at Birdland featuring Billy Stritch, Jim Caruso and Klea Blackhurst, is available now at retail and digital outlets worldwide. The highly-anticipated project is the first release on Club44 Records, a new label which aims to highlight the Broadway, cabaret and jazz genres and provide a home for artists who represent this timeless music. Drawing on their individual strengths, the production team of Billy Stritch and Wayne Haun bring the best of New York and Nashville together in this landmark recording.

Billy, Jim and Klea each bring unique talents to the table making this trio unstoppable. When joined with the stellar musicianship of bassist Steve Doyle and drummer Daniel Glass, everything you want in a holiday performance is present: musicality, versatility, familiarity and fun.

The first of several delightful surprises on Christmas at Birdland comes on the very first track when special guest Donny Osmond sings with the trio on "It's the Holiday Season." Jim shares, "The concept for our original Birdland show was to give a sense of the great 60's and 70's Christmas TV specials we grew up loving. Klea grew up in Utah, obsessing over her neighbors, the Osmonds. Billy was fascinated by the tight harmonies they sang. And as an only child, I wanted nothing more than to be part of a family band! Donny's name came up at our first album meeting. I texted him, and within two minutes, received the one-word response, 'Yes!' With all he has going on in his life and career, he was incredibly generous to lend us his time and considerable talents!"

Saxophonist Dave Koz is featured on two songs, "Silent Night/A Child is Born" with Klea, and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" with Billy. "About 20 years ago, Jim and I met the great sax player Dave Koz," reveals Billy, "and he became an instant friend. When we were starting to put the album together, we wondered if perhaps Dave would be gracious enough to lend his talents to a couple of cuts. All we had to do was call him and he was there the next day! Working in the studio with him was so much fun and because I know him so well it was so easy to convey exactly the feeling I was going for. Having his incredible and soulful playing is such a beautiful asset to the finished product!"

A show-stopping moment on the project is Klea's rendition of Cy Coleman's "He's Stuck in the Chimney Again." This treasure of a song was unearthed at Notable Music and had never been recorded - until now. Being able to premiere this song is a highlight for the group. Billy Stritch writes, "One of the great advantages of moving to New York in the late 80s was the fact that I got to meet so many terrific composers like Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. The friendship that means the most to me is the one that I forged with the great Cy Coleman. We all know Cy was the writer of a dozen fabulous Broadway shows and dozens of wonderful hit songs, and the fact that he took me under his wing was a thrill and an honor for me. After Cy's untimely death, I went deeper into his catalog and was able to unearth some wonderful unrecorded gems for a show that I put together in New York. One of the songs is "He's Stuck in the Chimney Again," a delightful holiday song that he co-wrote with Floyd Huddleston. It appeals to the child in all of us with that humor and wonderful imagery, and we are thrilled to be giving it its very first recording after all these years!"

Fans will love the familiar tunes and playful moments as the energy and fun of the stage show, A Swinging Birdland Christmas, is fantastically captured in this recording. The live show celebrates its tenth year at Birdland Jazz Club this year, December 21-25. With a history of sold-out performances, patrons will want to plan to get tickets early for this annual event. "It's thrilling to be part of a yearly event that has become many people's holiday tradition!" reflects Jim. "We feel like the Rockettes! Some folks haven't missed a single year! The show has certainly become a beloved part of our holidays, too. Billy, Klea, Daniel, Steve and I always trade presents and celebrate with a huge feast on Christmas night. For me, it's being part of the family band I always hoped and prayed for."

Co-producer and Club44 Records co-owner Wayne Haun feels that they have achieved his vision with this project. "A Swinging Birdland Christmas has been a New York mainstay for ten years now. As successful as the show has been, we knew it was time to capture that spirit and energy in the recording studio."

Billy echoes that sentiment, "I can't tell you how thrilled I was when Wayne Haun told us that he wanted to take us all into the studio and record our Christmas show for posterity. We couldn't have imagined how well taken care of we would be by him and the whole crew at Club44 Records."

Christmas at Birdland is distributed internationally by Sony/Provident.

Christmas is Starting Now / It's the Holiday Season
The Christmas Waltz
Manhattan in December
You Meet the Nicest People
Mister Santa
He's Stuck in the Chimney Again
Little Jack Frost Get Lost
Caroling, Caroling (instrumental)
It Happened in Sun Valley / Snow
Silent Night / A Child Is Born
Winter Weather / Winter Night
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells

Tags : Klea Blackhurst Christmas at Birdland Jim Caruso Billy Stritch

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