Timeless Christmas

Performers Israel & New Breed

Integrity Gospel/Sony Urban Gospe | October 6, 2009 | Compact Disc

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One of the most remarkable Christmas albums of 2006 was Israel & New Breed's A Timeless Christmas, a disc that, once again, proves that bandleader Israel Houghton is as much a soul singer as he is a champion of cross-generational, multi-ethnic praise & worship music. In 2002, he took a departure towards '70s R&B with the impossibly soulful Real, and A Timeless Christmas picks up where that album left off. The disc does justice to its title, as this is yuletide fare that transcends the sounds of the season not only in sound, but also in spirit: Houghton isn't concerned with the commodification of the holidays, but with Christ's birth -- not as a feeble, defenseless babe, but as a King incarnate that's worthy of utmost celebration and glory. Houghton leaves some room for levity, as in the cinematic "Nutcracker" instrumentals, but these are mood pieces for the rest of the album. Elsewhere, he wastes no time in asserting the tone of the album, one where sacred carols are turned into funk-laden praise romps ("O Come," "Hark") or jazzy, bohemian reinterpretations ("Silent Nocturne"), all of which are performed with a dizzying sense of arrangement and cool, but not to the point of distraction. Even the guests on this Christmas spectacular -- CeCe Winans, Matthew Ward, Lalah Hathaway, Gerald Albright, among others -- are almost invisible, keenly aware of the reason of Houghton's season. This reason -- Emmanuel himself -- lies enthroned in the album's centerpiece, the sprawling "Christmas Worship Medley," a ten-minute choral Magnificat that there are very few of in today's seasonal selections. It all makes for a wonderful, timeless companion to the maddening daze of Christmas, as well as a sobering reminder of the occasion's real gift. [This edition contains the bonus track "With Us (Oh Emmanuel)."] ~ Andree Farias

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 6, 2009

Genre: Contemp. Christian

Style: Gospel

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2006

Label Name: Integrity Gospel/Sony Urban Gospe

UPC: 886975641628

Found in: Contemporary - Christian

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Timeless Christmas

Timeless Christmas

Performers Israel & New Breed
Guest Artist(s) CeCe Winans, Daniel Johnson, Danielle Stephens, Gerald Albright, Jamil Whiting, Jonathan Butler, Lalah Hathaway, LeAnne Palmore, Marcus Miller, Marvin Winans, Olanrewaju Agbabiaka, Stacey Joseph

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 6, 2009

Genre: Contemp. Christian

Style: Gospel

Number of Discs: 1

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2006

Label Name: Integrity Gospel/Sony Urban Gospe

UPC: 886975641628


Title Track Time
1.Nutcracker Suite 1: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: No. 1, Minature Overture --
2.Everybody Knows --
3.Hark --
4.O Come - (featuring LeAnne Palmore) --
5.Tidings (God Rest Ye merry Gentlemen) --
6.Christmas Worship Medley: Alpha And Omega/O Come Let Us Adore Him/Be Unto Your Name/Magnificent And --
7.Least Of These/Put A Little Love In Your Heart --
8.Nutcracker Suite 2: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a: No. 2, March --
9.By Christmas Day - (featuring Marvin Winans) --
10.Nocturnal Mist - (featuring Marcus Miller) --
11.Silent Nocturne - (featuring Gerald Albright/Lalah Hathaway) --
12.Sonny Boy Christmas --
13.Go Tell It --
14.We Wish You A Timeless Christmas - (featuring Cece Winans) --
15.Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - (featuring Gerald Albright/Lalah Hathaway/Marvin Winans/Dan --
16.With Us (Oh Emmanuel) --

Editorial Notes

One of the most remarkable Christmas albums of 2006 was Israel & New Breed's A Timeless Christmas, a disc that, once again, proves that bandleader Israel Houghton is as much a soul singer as he is a champion of cross-generational, multi-ethnic praise & worship music. In 2002, he took a departure towards '70s R&B with the impossibly soulful Real, and A Timeless Christmas picks up where that album left off. The disc does justice to its title, as this is yuletide fare that transcends the sounds of the season not only in sound, but also in spirit: Houghton isn't concerned with the commodification of the holidays, but with Christ's birth -- not as a feeble, defenseless babe, but as a King incarnate that's worthy of utmost celebration and glory. Houghton leaves some room for levity, as in the cinematic "Nutcracker" instrumentals, but these are mood pieces for the rest of the album. Elsewhere, he wastes no time in asserting the tone of the album, one where sacred carols are turned into funk-laden praise romps ("O Come," "Hark") or jazzy, bohemian reinterpretations ("Silent Nocturne"), all of which are performed with a dizzying sense of arrangement and cool, but not to the point of distraction. Even the guests on this Christmas spectacular -- CeCe Winans, Matthew Ward, Lalah Hathaway, Gerald Albright, among others -- are almost invisible, keenly aware of the reason of Houghton's season. This reason -- Emmanuel himself -- lies enthroned in the album's centerpiece, the sprawling "Christmas Worship Medley," a ten-minute choral Magnificat that there are very few of in today's seasonal selections. It all makes for a wonderful, timeless companion to the maddening daze of Christmas, as well as a sobering reminder of the occasion's real gift. [This edition contains the bonus track "With Us (Oh Emmanuel)."] ~ Andree Farias
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