Over the last decade, Charles Jenkins has infused the gospel radio airwaves with an eclectic mix of hits, ranging from the gold-selling praise and worship anthem “Awesome” to the infectious 5th Ward New Orleans groove of “Can’t Turn Back.” He continues to broaden his musical horizons with a Big Band-styled digital holiday EP, A Charles Jenkins Christmas (Inspired People), that is now available on all digital platforms.
Jenkins composed all the songs on the five-track set. It opens with the bouncy “It’s Christmas Day” which showcases nimble ivory-tickling, a bold brass section, and a suave upright bass. It’s followed by the jump number, “Let’s Dance,” a dazzling duet with Lena Byrd Miles that feels as thrilling as a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers dance routine. The ballad, “Under the Christmas Sky” is a majestically orchestrated song about the Christ child’s birth. “The Christmas Hop” is a rollicking tune that recalls Cab Calloway’s Swing tracks like “Hi De Ho Man.” The project concludes with a tear-jerking soul ballad, “Christmas Ain’t the Same” that nostalgically recalls holiday memories with loved ones who have passed away. It’s a brilliant collection of new classics.
“I wanted to produce some new Christmas music that has the potential to be timeless,” Jenkins said when asked why he chose this classic genre “I am fascinated by the smooth classic works of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and others. I wanted to try to pay homage to their impeccable blueprint in the 21st century. I want to create art that is warm, classic, and celebratory in a sophisticated way. I feel like my producer Sam Williams and my amazing team of talented musicians, transcribers, and arrangers nailed it.”