Monday, December 10, 2007

Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani - The Sound Of Christmas

When this album reared its head on eBay earlier this year, I thought there was no chance in hades that I would win it. But after a full week and no bids, luck smiled on me (a rarity this year) and I found myself the proud owner of an actual, physical, stereo copy!

So who are Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani?

Al Caiola was a guitar virtuoso who served with Bob Crosby (Der Bingle's brother) during World War II. After studying at the New Jersey College of Music on the G.I. Bill, he found work as a staff musician at CBS Radio. Since then, he has played on thousands of records as a guitarist extraordinaire for hundreds of artists.

Riz Ortolani was born in Pesaro, Italy and founded a wildly popular jazz band in the 1950s. Around 1962, he switched gears and began composing film scores. His first was for the infamous Italian movie "Mondo Cane" which gave us the international hit "More".

They were talented musicians who happened to hook up just once in their lifetime to give us this amazing Christmas album. Here's what Mr. Caiola had to say about this album in his liner notes from the back cover:

"Before telling you about our album, I want to sincerely thank the gifted Riz Ortolani whose masterful arranging played a major role in making this program a unique holiday experience. Christmas is a tradition, yet traditions must be updated to the mode of the times.

"When I first met Riz Ortolani, who has gained international prominence for his hit composition 'More', I knew his sincerity and sensitivity could provide the warmth that was needed to convey this modern Yuletide message.

"Our album includes 'Bossa Nova Noel', in which the rhythm section of the orchestra creates the contemporary atmosphere that is so characteristic of today's styles. Ortolani's deft scoring envelopes the orchestra in 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song', creating the unique glow that is so much a part of the holiday spirit.

"Also included in the album, among other gems, are LeRoy Holmes' 'Holiday On Skis', an original by Riz entitled 'Christmas Card', 'White Christmas' and 'Sleigh Ride'', all of which convey to the listener an up-to-date feeling for the traditions of St. Nicholas.

"I hope you will have as much pleasure listening to these songs as I did in recording them. Have a happy holiday and a very special Christmas. - Al Caiola"

Christmas should always sound this great:

Al Caiola & Riz Ortolani - The Sound Of Christmas

Happy listening...



Stephen said...

Another perennial favorite in my house. Great stuff, Cap'n!

CaptainOT said...

Steve - It's 40 years old this year and still sounds fresh as ever!


LoungeTracks said...

Thank you so much Captain!

CaptainOT said...

Your welcome LT!


Doug Hannah said...

Wow wow wow - this is amazing to have as my own now.

With much gratitude,


CaptainOT said...

Doug - Glad to have helped! Thanks for your comment!


Anonymous said...

You are Awesome! I have kept my Dad's copy of this album from when I was a kid, it is scratched and worn from many years of Christmas enjoyment.
Now thanks to you I can listen to a clean digital copy!

Thank You!


Anonymous said...

This is a must for any Xmas record collection and Al Caiola catalogue. I picked up my copy a few years ago from an Opportunity Shop for 50 cents and it's one of the great Xmas albums. I grew up listening to my parents playing Al Caiola and now I have 17 LP's!