Click on the Where To Find tab above to preview, stream, download, or purchase the music below, including hard CD's of the two full albums. To anyone listening on streaming, I hope you enjoy them. To those who have already downloaded or purchased them, my sincerest thanks. And now a little bit about each:
For my first album, "A Guitar on Christmas Day," I chose a variety of traditional holiday songs and rearranged them in what I thought would be different and unique styles. "Deck the Halls" is an example of applying a Bossa Nova rhythm to a classic tune, and "Jingle Bells" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" received a Jazz combo treatment. The Austrian and German medleys were inspired by the years I lived in both countries, where the celebration of Christmas was always very special. And "Toyland" was done in a Chet Atkins inspired finger picking style (although I am not a finger picker by any means), For his early and ongoing influence and inspiration to me, this album is respectfully dedicated to him.
On the follow-up album, "Another Guitar on Christmas Day," I chose additional classic and international Christmas favorites, but arranged and played them in a more traditional manner, with a few light Jazz exceptions (such as "O Little Town of Bethlehem"). This album is dedicated to my late uncle, Michael Ksenic, who painstakingly took the time way back in March 1960 to teach a seven-year old how to play guitar and accordion. He also gave me my first two guitars. Without his guidance, patience, and generosity, I would never have begun my personal guitar journey.
My first digital single is based on, "March of the Toys," written by Victor Herbert for his operetta and movie, "Babes in Toyland." I have always been a huge fan and admirer of the great Django Reinhardt, and thus the musical genre he created, Gypsy Jazz or Swing. Django was a member of the Manouche clan and, over time, his style of music became known in France as Jazz Manouche. So I took this great song and began it with a snare drum and guitar in the traditional fashion. However, the tempo then quickly changes to a Manouche style, with its driving rhythm and staccato rhythm guitar. The only other addition is a stand-up bass often heard in this music, hence the revised name, "March of the Manouche Toys." It was a great deal of fun to record as was designing the album art. As a model, I used a Nutcracker doll I purchased in Germany when I lived there, then changed the long hair and beard to groomed sideburns and pencil mustache reminiscent of the Gypsy Jazz players in the 1930's and through the years. This single has been well received and it will surely lead to my next full album in tribute to this fabulous music! As there are very few players in Django's league, and certainly not I, this song is nonetheless dedicated to him.
And now my newest (non-holiday) single release, "J'attendrai." French for "I will wait," it was first recorded by Rina Ketty in 1938. It was a hugely popular song in France during World War II and the equivalent of "Lili Marleen" by Lale Anderson in Germany, "We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn in Great Britain, and "I'll Be Seeing You" by a myriad of artists in the United States. It is actually a French version of the Italian song, "Tornerai," written by Dino Olivieri. It became a Gypsy Jazz favorite after two famous recordings by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1938, and remains so to this day. It has been recorded in different arrangements by a host of wonderful performers, including Max Raabe and Palast Orchester, André Rieu, Tino Rossi, Lucienne Delyle, Pearl Django, Rose Room, et al. It can also be heard in many movies, most recently in, "Allied."
Songs on both full albums and the March of the Manouche Toys are in the Public Domain, arranged and performed by Robert Allena, and each protected by U.S. Copyright.
All recording rights to J'attendrai were previously obtained prior to publication.