Jane Monheit is a New York-based jazz and adult contemporary vocalist, with 11 successful albums under her belt, including the critically acclaimed, chart-topping 2010 hit “Home.” She was a 1998 finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute Vocal Competition. And in 2002 and 2004, her albums “In The Sun” and “Taking A Chance On Love” brushed Grammy greatness with nominations for Vince Mendoza’s instrumental arrangements.
Sara Gazarek is a California-based jazz vocalist originally from Seattle, with five albums to her name, including the critically and commercially acclaimed 2012 release “Blossom & Bee.” She was Downbeat’s 2003 “Best Collegiate Vocalist” and a favorite new jazz artist amongst JazzTimes readers. While relatively new to the jazz scene, Gazarek’s quickly developed a fan following amongst jazz and mainstream music lovers and respected musicians. She’s been a tireless jazz advocate at USC, helping to pioneer the JazzReach program, where she taught jazz choir to inner city elementary kids for two years.
Separately, these vocalists are powerhouses. Together, forget it. Recently, the friends took an original Christmas song by Larry Goldings (music) and Cliff Goldmacher (lyrics), and produced magic in a single recording, released on Palmetto Records November 6. “Come Spend Christmas With Me” is a poignant, clever song about two friends living on opposite ends of North America—one in New York City, the other in L.A., each trying to talk the other into coming over for a Christmas visit by building up the beauty in where they live:
There’s tinsel on Fifth Avenue,
Snow in Central Park
And Rockefeller Center looks like heaven after dark
There’s a fire in the fireplace,
Your present’s by the tree
Come spend Christmas with me
There’s primrose in the canyons,
The hills are painted gold
The frost on my martini is the only thing that’s cold
We can walk down by the water,
Watch the sunset on the beach
Come spend Christmas with me
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Christmas song will go to the ASPCA, as both vocalists are passionate animal rights supporters. The poetic, conversational song itself is lovingly paced and lovingly phrased without being forced or overly dramatic, and is a beautiful, lavish contrast between two major cities with two very different Christmases. The built-in classic melody and holiday touches instrumentally and lyrically cannot be beat. By the time Monheit gets to “Your present’s by the tree,” tears will flow and numbers will be dialed for that best friend across the way.
“Larry and Cliff wrote such a beautiful song for Jane and me to sing,” Gazarek said. “I’m just so honored and grateful for the phenomenal musicians and production folks who were willing to donate their time to make this fundraiser a possibility. Jane and I are both huge animals rights supporters (and fans of holiday music!), and we hope that our listeners are too!”
Purchase the Christmas song from Amazon and iTunes. Fingers crossed for a full-blown Christmas album follow-up!