Jazz Maestro Releases 4th Solo Album

In his 1st album in 22 years, “God Rest Ye (Christmas Jazz with Tots Tolentino)”, the Saxophone guru interprets tunes by local Jesuits as well as Yuletide classics in a style that endeared him to fans of cross-over Jazz.

The elegant smoothness of “God Rest Ye” will make you agree why the Saxophone is probably the most used in Christmas instrumental albums. Tots’ (as he is called in the music industry) seamless and expressive playing in a remarkable range of styles keeps the excitement of listening to the CD alive until the last track.

Starting the set is a lyrical treatment of “Gumising”, followed by a funky, spirited version of the classic “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. Other tracks like “Where You Are” and “Pasko ng Paglaya” benefit from sparse arrangements, the latter conjuring up guitarist Pat Metheny’s Brazilian-inspired recordings. Reggae-grooved “The Christ Child” is an infectious piece in which Tot’s playing bops along with a busy rhythm section. Upbeat “Isang Sanggol” and “Adeste Fideles”, played in double time Samba can be regarded as the center-pieces of the album, thick textured arrangements wherein Tots, one of the most recognized sax players in Asia, get to showcase the improvisational skills he is known for in straight-ahead Jazz performances.

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“God Rest Ye…” benefits from an excellent support crew – award winning arranger Ronald Tomas (also a noted Saxophone player), Guitarist Paolo Blaquera who is featured on 2 tracks and producer Rhany Torres, whose Jazz credits include indie albums like WDOUJI’s debut release and Adobo Jazz compilations.

One may think that this album review came late because Christmas has already passed. Well, not exactly because it is one CD you will want to listen to even beyond the holidays. Trust me. –Sid Villafranca

“God Rest Ye (Christmas Jazz with Tots Tolentino)” is released in CD and via digital download by Jesuit Communications.

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