Charlie Miller, Christmas in New Orleans (Independent)

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Christmas on an ice floe is more like it. Charlie Miller has recorded an album of solo trumpet versions of Christmas classics, and the echo on his horn makes it sound as if he’s playing in a wide open space with mountains or fjord walls a mile or so in the distance. Such a sound suits Miller’s treatments beautifully; he performs the songs as meditations, contemplating the melodies privately and engaging the sound of each note as much as the note itself. He’s at peace with the space between notes, the beauty of a held note, and the significance of those notes he squeaks out or slurs. Ultimately, though, the album is an examination of these classic melodies, and he takes two passes at “The Christmas Song” and three at “Silent Night,” each offering subtle tonal changes that lead his imagination in new directions. If there’s a knock here, it’s that the tracks are sonically similar, but Miller’s treatment of the songs is serious if a bit lonely, and the austere beauty throughout is mesmerizing.

  • Lee H. Abraham

    Charlie Miller came to Vicksburg when Katrina hit. With his trumpet in his hand, he exposed the people of this town to a side of music it would never have seen had it not been for his extraordinary talent. If there was one good thing to come out of Katrina it would be the exposure of Charlie Miller to the city of Vicksburg. Thanks Charlie, we will always love you>