Monday, December 10, 2007
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