The Velvet Sirens, “Columbus’ Premiere Cabaret and Torch Flambé Duo,” have released a new Holiday EP entitled A Very Velvet Holiday. The EP is currently for sale here, and CDs will be available at their EP Release Party on Saturday, December 9th at 9:30pm at Club Diversity (more details here). The veteran duo of Jesse Chandler (vocals, percussion) and Michael Kaplan (baritone jazz ukulele) regularly entertains Columbus audiences with passionate renditions of classic standards from the likes of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, George Gershwin and many more plus their own original material that reflects on the classics but moves forward. Chandler provided an update on the band: “The Velvet Sirens are finalizing a winter tour that will take them through the southern part of the US for the winter months. Besides traditional music venues, the duo is also establishing a House Concert tour that will allow them to perform in more intimate environments. They are releasing a new CD in early 2018 that will include all original music written and performed in the style of the jazz and swing standard.” Keep reading for my thoughts on their fun and festive holiday release.
A Very Velvet Holiday features two standards and three originals that all bring warmth to the chillier months of the year. The EP opens with Kaplan’s ukulele strumming before Chandler’s dramatic yet reverent vocals take the lead on Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.” Original “Resolution Blues (Spin Me, Sun)” is world-weary, but Chandler’s lyrics and delivery shine year-end reflections in a unique and spirited light. Also composed by the duo, “I Wish For A Moment” employs sleigh bells to merry effect before Chandler shares yearning wishes for the season guided by Kaplan’s soothing rhythms and the occasional bluesy breakdown. Frank Loesser’s “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” is rendered in a calm and contemplative light, with the duo’s mellow groove smoothing the edges of the desiring lyrics. The EP ends on a high note with original “How I Let You Get To Me,” as Chandler lends her opinions on a challenging relationship with smouldering aplomb.
A Very Velvet Holiday is highly recommended for fans of unique, traditional-minded and CATCHY vocal jazz and is a great addition to your holiday shopping list! Check out video of “I Wish For A Moment” along with an introduction to the band: