Till Brönner, Christmas Review
by Ferell Aubre
Till Brönner is a German trumpeter born in Viersen, Germany, and raised in Rome, Italy. Brönner’s early musical life was consumed by the sounds of Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker: “Hearing Bebop for the first time, Charlie Parker; that set the whole thing off for me. I was 13 years old, and it was an almost erotic sensation. I thought that it was indecent. The music was like a woman having a go at me.” Brönner has become one of the highest-selling German jazz musicians. His album, Generations of Jazz, was a classic mainstream recording and his debut as a bandleader. By the time he released German Songs, his third album of old German film songs, arranged for jazz quartet and classical orchestra, he was the talk of both the German jazz scene and the United States jazz scene. In 2008, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Classical Crossover Album” category for The Jazz Album, an album he produced with classical bass-baritone singer Thomas Quasthoff. His album, The Christmas Album, won the 2008 Echo Award in the jazz category. His Echo Award in the jazz category album featured Annie Lennox, Milton Nascimento, and Aimee Mannm, which won an Echo Award in the jazz category. In addition, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” for his solo on the album The Standard by the legendary vocal ensemble Take 6. Brönner is now releasing his second Christmas release called Christmas, which contains twelve tracks of Holiday joy. Joining Brönner is Frank Chastenier, piano and Christian von Kaphengst, bass.
With a classic sound of piano, bass, and trumpet, the album opens with a gentle arrangement of “Jesus to a Child.” Brönner’s warm muted trumpet sound is gorgeous as he plays the melody over the rich harmonic support of Chastenier’s piano, and later, Kaphengst’s bass. Brönner’s playing style is one of class, tone, and playing beautiful melodies.
“Jingle Bells,” the album’s midpoint, is one of its highlights, pairing a straightforward swing style with Brönner’s vivid warm phrasing. The propulsive rhythm makes the joyous mood of the Holidays shine through as the trio takes us on a ride. This time of year, Christmas tunes burrow deeper into our psyches, and Brönner creates a setting for the melody and feeling to become ever more precious.
Christmas brings to like the Christmas classics embedded in our life with energy, focus, and a sound that creates a space for the Holiday spirit. The album is spacious and enveloping as it warms the heart with its familiar melodies.