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Pianist, Composer, Music Educator
Downbeat Magazine's Review of December Moment
By Bobby Reed November 30, 2014
Because most adults have heard them hundreds of times, it's easy for straightforward renditions of Christmas classics to overstay their welcome. Fortunately, on December Moment, the trio No Explanations puts a premium on brevity. The album includes pithy arrangements of 16 familiar chestnuts, half of which are less than two minutes long. Pianist Mark Christopher Brandt, bassist Shaun Jurek and drummer Russell Lucas have crafted a peaceful album that combines religious and secular tunes.
Brandt wrote all the arrangements, adding surprising twists and fluid improv segments to "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" and putting Jurek's bass in the spotlight for a concise, 85-second rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The title track, which is the only original tune here, was spontaneously composed in the studio and illustrates the musicians' simpatico approach. This is a fine album for nighttime listening, when you're in the mood to relax and reflect, long after the kids have gone to slumberland.