Midnight Clear CD Review: ChristmasReviews.com
Reviewed by Richard Banks

Joe Curry’s Midnight Clear is the sort of Christmas music one listens to very, very early in the morning or very, very late in the evening, times when listening at a low volume is a premium. His soft-spoken piano arrangements are gentle and unassuming, and at times accompanied by other soft-spoken instrumental voices, including flute (Betsy McCann), french horn (Sara Bergsven), saxophone (Mary McWeeny) and cello (Noah Turner Rogoff).

Not entirely instrumental (Joe sings The Christmas Song, Let It Snow, and O Holy Night), this is for the most part a CD you can place in the changer with other instrumental offerings. Curry’s style is slightly formal, his arrangements sentimental. I particularly enjoyed his gentle treatment of Silent Night , primarily because of the inclusion of Betsy McCann’s flute part. In contrast, his arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen featured a bit of energetic arrangemental piano riffing, accompanied by Mary McWeeny’s “calming” soprano sax. But in both cases, he makes effective use of his other instrumental accompanists. In contrast, on Once In Royal David’s City he, um, singlehandedly, renders the entire piece with just his piano.

Midnight Clear is a wonderful way to begin or end a wintry December day.