Thursday, December 9, 2010

CD Review – On Christmas Night, by Steven C


Following on the heels of his elegant Heart Strings CD, pianist Steven C provides a touch of class for the holidays with his album, On Christmas Night.

This isn’t just a typical collection of the usual secular seasonal standards, nor does it celebrate the capitalism of Christmas with all of its commercial trappings. Rather, it is really about that Christmas night – that silent, holy night.

As such, the album contains the expected classics that tap into the spiritual side of the holiday, or “the reason for the season.” And yet these interpretations are not overbearing or overwhelming as these songs can sometimes be. That’s where the arranging and performing talents of Steven C come into play.

Rather than give them the shrill, over-the-top treatment that they occasionally get, Steven C plays them with a quiet reverence that is very much in keeping with the tranquil sanctity of the original Christmas. Even the few secular gems included in the mix, such as the concluding rendition of the Lee Mendelson-Vince Gauraldi Charlie Brown Christmas classic, “Christmas Time Is Here,” are played with the same solemnity as the religious tunes, such that they fit right in with the overall feel of the album.

With On Christmas Night, Steven C has accomplished something quite rare – a holiday album that channels the magic, mystery, and mysticism of that first Christmas night so long ago.

--Raj Manoharan

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