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BWW CD Review: Marty and Marissa THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM Sparkles And Glitters

It's about time the famed duo did a cd... and they got so, so right.

BWW CD Review: Marty and Marissa THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM Sparkles And Glitters

When I got to the end of MARTY AND MARISSA: THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM I was so disappointed.

It's too short!

So maybe eight songs is too many for an EP but it's too few for an album, especially an album this enjoyable. I need two more tracks!

For years I had a tradition of buying at least one new holiday album each Christmas, but that tradition stopped about a decade ago because the seasonal albums had stopped being interesting - people weren't doing anything new with holiday music. I found myself buying CDs that I listened to one time before filing them away, never to be played again. If, however, the standard for Christmas records had been set by The Award Winning Holiday Album, my Christmas cd collection would be huge by now. In brief: this album actually SHOULD be given an award... if it had two more tracks.

Marty and Marissa aren't new to the scene. Everyone in New York knows them, and everyone outside of New York who doesn't know them, well, they should because Marty and Marissa are awesome. More to the point, Marty and Marissa are special. When you are special, you need to put out product that is special, and what makes The Award Winning Holiday Album so special is that it is authentic, in every way. Taking into consideration Marty Thomas and Marissa Rosen as individual artists, and the Marty and Marissa brand, the entire eight-track album is a genuine representation of the artwork and personality that all three put out every day, right down to the guest artists invited to appear on The Award Winning Holiday Album with the delightful duo and the album cover art by Jarrod Hogg. In these eight tracks, Marty and Marissa have created a listening experience that sounds like the soundtrack to a holiday special, starting out with a spectacularly silly comedy sketch that could be right off of a Lily Tomlin comedy album from the seventies - without the inclusion of this fluff of cotton candy, the recording would be lacking; it would be good but incomplete. The comedy bit sets the tone for the listener, informing newcomers to the Marty and Marissa party who the duo is and what they stand for, and reminding longtime fans of what they've been missing all these months of lockdown. Once the comedic tone of the cd has been established, it's time for the vocals, and all bets are off.

Thomas and Rossen are two of the best singers in the business, each of them with a skill set unique only to them. He has been a star for a long time, and though Thomas lost his way for a couple of years, he has been on a steady climb back into authenticity for about a year. With the release of his album Slow Dancing With a Boy, his Broadway World Award-nominated concert Second Chance Prom, and online entertainment programming that has kept the fans happy and satisfied, Marty Thomas is back and he's better than ever before. She has been an integral part of the club and concert scene for over a decade, appearing alongside Thomas in their BFF acts, as well as working in concerts at 54 Below and with colleagues like The Skivvies. Regrettably, there have been no solo shows or CDs for Marissa Rosen, but the time has come, and everyone knows it. Last year Kristin Chenoweth picked Marissa for her Broadway show and tour FOR THE GIRLS, then gave her solo work and put her right in the spotlight. That is because Chenoweth knows quality and she knows how to mentor. Listening to Rosen on The Award Winning Holiday Album is like getting a reminder from your Echo Dot that there are no solo Marissa Rosen albums, it's like hearing a trip gong telling you to go to your corner - only when Rosen gets to her corner, it needs to be a recording booth.

The Award Winning Holiday Album is about more than just impeccable (sometimes scary and death-defying) vocals, though. With artists who can sing anything, it's important to put all their gifts to good use, so the Christmas music on The Award Winning Holiday Album ranges from musical theater ("There Is a Santa Claus") to pop music ("Puppies Are Forever") to classic holiday songs perfectly matched to each of the besties - the choice for Rosen to go rock n roll belt with "The Man With the Bag" seems only natural while having Thomas go all-in r&b for "Please Come Home For Christmas" is de rigueur. And a holiday album with Marissa Rosen would not be complete without a Hanukkah song, so Marty and Marissa made the brilliant decision to go modern-day Hanukkah with the funk-inspired "8 Days of Hanukkah", which this writer has already put on his year-long playlist, just after "Wrapped in Red" by Kelly Clarkson and right before "Winter Was Warm" by Jodi Benson.

BWW CD Review: Marty and Marissa THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM Sparkles And GlittersThe heart of the album, though, is the anchor of the musical journey - that final song on the cd that sends the listener into their holiday, warm-hearted but reflective: an all-star chorus singing "Hard Candy Christmas" - which isn't really a Christmas song, just a song with the word Christmas in the title. Nevertheless, the Carol Hall musical theater classic has become a part of the holiday catalog for singers, and thank goodness because it's a beautiful composition, filled with optimism and hope, pathos and heart. On this album, it is also full of sublime musicality and harmonies you long to put into your loved ones' Christmas stockings, all courtesy of Marty Thomas' personal phone book, which he opened up and used to call (are you ready for this?) Christina Bianco, Julie Danielson, Diana DeGarmo, Melinda Doolittle, Rachel Potter, Alysha Umphress, Jessica Vosk, and musical director Yasuhiko Fukuoka (who shares producing credit with Thomas). Yes, it's a little melancholy for the final song on a holiday album but, again, it is completely in line with the people and the entertainers that are Marty and Marissa.

In fact, that is what the duo has given the world for Christmas -- not just another holiday album: they have given us all themselves. Now everyone can have a little bit of Marty and Marissa with them at home, any time, all year long.

It's just what I wanted.

And two more tracks.

Marty and Marissa The Award Winning Holiday Album is a 2020 release on the Candy Cane Records label and is available on all platforms, with hardcopies available through Marty Thomas' website HERE.

BWW CD Review: Marty and Marissa THE AWARD WINNING HOLIDAY ALBUM Sparkles And GlittersTo celebrate the CD release, Marty and Marissa will host a listening party event on Youtube on December 5 at 7 PM EST. The event will be hosted by the well known digital host, Michael Hull and will feature an impressive lineup of special guest artists who helped to create the project. Notable artists who appear on the record include Jessica Vosk, Rachel Potter, Diana DeGarmo, Christina Bianco, Alysha Umphress, and Melinda Doolittle.

Tracklist and credits:

The World Holiday Music Awards (feat. Christina Bianco)
There Is a Santa Claus (From "Elf" The Musical)
Puppies Are Forever
(Everybody's Waitin' For) the Man with the Bag
Please Come Home For Christmas
8 Days (of Hanukkah)
I Still Believe In Santa Claus
Hard Candy Christmas (feat. Alysha Umphress, Christina Bianco, Diana DeGarmo, Jessica Vosk, Julie Danielson, Melinda Doolittle, Rachel Potter & Yasuhiko Fukuoka)


Guest artists on Track 1 Christina Bianco & Timothy Crull
Guest artists on Track 8 Alysha Umphress, Christina Bianco, Diana DeGarmo, Jessica Vosk, Julie Danielson, Melinda Doolittle, Rachel Potter & Yasuhiko Fukuoka
Produced by Marty Thomas & Yasuhiko Fukuoka
All Lead and backing vocals by Marty Thomas & Marissa Rosen
Track 1 written and sequenced by Marty Thomas
Track 2 Arrangement, sequencing, saxophones & woodwinds by Alex Hamlin
Tracks 3,6 Support vocals by Jeffrey Parizotto
Track 3 Support vocals by Charlie & Sassy
Tracks 3,4, 5, 6, 7 Arrangement and sequencing by Stephan Seiler
Track 6 Additional sequencing by Marty Thomas
Tracks 4,7 Additional sequencing by Yasuhiko Fukuoka
Track 8 Arrangement & piano by Yasuhiko Fukuoka with cello by Julie Danielson
All vocals arranged and produced by Marty Thomas
Mixing by Yasuhiko Fukuoka
Mastering by Paul Kimsal
Illustration & Graphic Design by Jarrad Hogg based on a photograph by Jeff Eason of @WilsonModels
All artists appear courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Claus




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From This Author Stephen Mosher