BWW CD Review: Anthony Nunziata TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS Is The First Christmas Present To Give Or Get This Holiday Season

Even if it's a gift for yourself, this is the gift to get.

By: Nov. 28, 2021
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BWW CD Review: Anthony Nunziata TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS Is The First Christmas Present To Give Or Get This Holiday Season

There was a time when a new Christmas album meant new music. As time has passed, a new CD purchase during the holiday season was guaranteed to include new versions of old songs like "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot" or "Merry Christmas Darling" but there was, in fact, a time when each of those now famous songs was a brand-new song that people either would or would not like enough to turn it into a classic. The practice of creating new Christmas music classics has become something that has taken a back seat to singing the tried and true. This season Anthony Nunziata has gone full-force in the direction of creation, releasing the album TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS, the most enjoyable Christmas album this writer has heard since Nancy LaMott's JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, some twenty-seven years ago.

Mr. Nunziata's collection of eleven original songs, all of which bear a Nunziata writing credit, is a thoroughly satisfying listen, from opening notes to final echoes. With a vibe leaning into music perfect for radio play, the pop album is one that would be easy to listen to all-year-round; were it not for words like "Christmas" and "Santa" and "Evergreen" one might have a difficult time pointing to the compositions with a declarative statement that it is holiday music. Of course, as times have changed, so have the parameters on Christmas music, so Anthony's album is simply Christmas music for today. Together For Christmas possesses a perfect balance between ballads and up-tempo numbers, and those recordings that float somewhere in between the two. Appropriately setting the tone with opener "Christmas Everywhere," Nunziata captures with intricate detail the feel of the holiday season in New York City, complete with the sounds of chimes and bells, and if you close your eyes and allow Nunziata's clarion and crystal modern-day vocal stylings to carry you where they will, you might actually have visions of Fifth Avenue dusk as random flurries begin to fill the sapphire sky.

The title track is guaranteed to remind everyone of their childhood Christmases, with talk of Gingerbread and candles, the Christmases that we all spend our adult lives attempting to recreate, while "Caribbean Christmas" conjures images of what grown-ups do during a holiday that isn't informed by coffee and pumpkin pie. So much care has been taken in the crafting of lyrics that will paint palpable pictures for the listener, pictures worthy of Norman Rockwell, Truman Capote, and Kevin McCallister. A sufficiently jazzy arrangement is reminiscent of glittering parties on "New York On New Year's Eve" and the urgent pulse of a lone guitar gives sophisticated worldliness to "Mama's Little Angels", demonstrating Nunziata's versatility as a storytelling singer and writer. For those lucky listeners whose lives lean into devotion, Anthony manages earnest conversations about the spiritual aspect of the holidays, while the advantageous audience that tends away from the religious can revel in groovy tunes like "Baby, It's Christmas Time!" and "Secret Santa" - tunes that this writer will be keeping in his year-round playlist, alongside Kelly Clarkson's songs "Wrapped in Red" and "Just For Now."

The, perhaps, most successful tracks on the album are destined to be "The Greatest Wish" and "Just One Prayer Away" because both recordings represent the brand that seems to be Mr. Nunziata's sound - beautiful, heartfelt, optimistic and hopeful (especially the former, thanks to a breathtaking piano solo by Jim Brickman). Although the entirety of TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is a replete feast of music, these two cuts stand out as foolproof portrayals of who Anthony Nunziata is as an artist. Part of who Mr. Nunziata is, in that capacity, is a person who surrounds himself with the very best, which is why the CD carries credits for J.C. Andersen and Marissa Rosen (background vocals), Justin Wantz (mixing/mastering) and Eugene Gwozdz and Kathy Sommer, as the album arrangers and pianists. Producers Nunziata, Justin Wantz and Gian Stone should be very proud for bringing together these talents in what should be hailed as one of the best Christmas albums to come along this season or any other season in a very long time.

Anthony Nunziata TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS is a 2021 release on the Nunztunes label. It is available on all streaming platforms and at the Antony Nunziata website HERE.

Anthony Nunziata will celebrate the release of Together For Christmas with a holiday tour, the details of which have been provided by publicists for Mr. Nunziata:

Anthony Nunziata will launch a holiday concert tour December 2 in Carmel, Indiana, at Feinstein's at Hotel Carmichael that will also play NYC's Chelsea Table and Stage (Dec 4), Boca Raton's Mizner Park Cultural Center featuring Broadway's Avery Sommers (Dec 10), Saratoga's Mansion Inn Theater (Dec 11 & 12), NY's White Plains Performing Arts Center featuring comedian and actress Regina DeCicco (Dec 13), CT's Ridgefield Playhouse featuring Tony Winner Debbie Gravitte and comedian Kevin Bartini (Dec 15) and Scranton PA's Theater at North (Dec 18).

The concert tour celebrates the jazz/pop vocalist and singer-songwriter's debut Christmas album. The recording, produced by Nunziata and Justin Wantz, features Jim Brickman and Marissa Rosen, as well as co-writes with Maria Christensen (Walker Hayes, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez), Victoria Shaw (Garth Brooks, Lady A), Jim Brickman (Martina McBride, Johnny Mathis), and Jeff Franzel (Josh Groban, Placido Domingo, Shawn Colvin). Gian Stone (Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Jonas Bros) co-produced the track "First Christmas".


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