CHILLY GONZALES – A Very Chilly Christmas (GENTLE022CD)

A Very Chilly ChristmasA Very Chilly Christmas is just lovely! I want to put on a cocktail dress and sip on something seasonal while I let this gorgeous Chilly festive collection wash over me.

This is my first Chilly encounter, although how I do not know, he is so up my street and I’ve since looked him up in all the places and can’t wait to see him live, post-pandemic. A Very Chilly Christmas features Feist and Jarvis Cocker on three tracks. ‘The Banister Bough’ with Feist on vocals is very pretty, and Jarvis does what he does so well for this rendition of ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’. Their duet of David Berman’s ‘Snow Is Falling In Manhattan’ is really lush and very evocative of a festive Big Apple.

Featuring oldies and more recent pop classics, I was delighted to hear ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘All I Want For Christmas’ in among the carols and standards, they work so well as gentle piano interpretations, which I have since learned is Chilly’s signature minor key style. Surveying a broad scope of seasonal repertoire and sentiment, there’s grandeur and solemnity; austerity and merriment. All from a composer, showman and entertainer in his bathrobe.

Chilly says: “Christmas is a time of very mixed intense emotion for me, and the existing canon often sounds like a forced smile. Christmas is a typical time for superficial happiness, but also a time for reflection and mourning the sad events of the year, and to play the songs in a minor key makes Christmas more authentic and realistic”.

From solo arrangements to intricate, delicate additions of strings, bells, choir and more, the album also features Chilly’s regular stage and studio collaborator, cellist Stella Le Page. Gentle and seasonal, you can’t help but feel festive listening to A Very Chilly Christmas songs. I’ll certainly enjoy this festive collection for a few Christmases yet.

Jodie ‘SheBeat’ Schofield

Artist’s website:

‘The Bannister Bough’ with Feist – official video:

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