I'll Be Home for Christmas
REVIEWS FOR: I'll Be Home For Christmas: Phil Sheeran's I'll Be Home for Christmas is smooth contemporary jazz with a capital 'S.' This fine instrumental album features Sheeran's superb guitar, both alone and with an excellent ensemble. This music sets a sophisticated stage for moments of romance or quiet contemplation. The album opens very well with a silvery 'Silver Bells.' The hard-driving percussive undertones are like an insistent heartbeat moving the song along. Richard Warner's alto flute exchanges the spotlight with Sheeran's guitar in 'What Child Is This.' On 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' Sheeran displays guitar virtuosity in long solo stretches, then matches seamlessly with his jazz colleagues (on bass and drums) for the track's remainder. And on it goes; Sheeran does a wonderful job of mixing up the jazz delights that crowd I'll Be Home for Christmas. For those who prefer the simplicity of acoustic guitar alone, Sheeran will please on the title track and on 'Christmas Time Is Sleeping' (a Sheeran original). For those who prefer some lilting piano phrases thrown into the jazz mélange, 'The Christmas Song' will be a true delight. Although this album is not terribly long (under 39 minutes), every cut works overtime. The musicianship is top-notch; and the production values are first rate. For my money, the best piece on the CD is the title track, a winning and whimsical showcase of Sheeran's stellar guitar abilities. I do have to admit, however, that the dueling guitars (of Sheeran and guest guitarist Andre Feriante) on 'The Little Drummer Boy (Strummer Boy)' are pretty special, too. So sweet! Hurry home for Phil Sheeran's I'll Be Home for Christmas--you'll be glad you did! Christmasreviews.com by Carol Swanson (Reviewed in 2005) ---------------------- Another Christmas means the release of hundreds of seasonal titles. Three are especially worthy of note for this column. Guitarist Phil Sheeran, known for a clear acoustic style with a taste for Brazilian rhythms, has released his first Christmas record with I'll Be Home for Christmas (Passage). It's so smooth, just right for the holidays, begun by a buoyant 'Silver Bells' and continued with a bossa nova 'What Child Is This.' Although most of the nine songs are in an ensemble setting, there are some solo numbers, including the impressive 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' and the original 'Christmas Time Is Sleeping.' On 'The Little Drummer Boy,' Sheeran duets with Italian guitarist Andre Feriante with beautiful results. L.A. Jazz Scene by Brian Soergel Reviewed December 1996, ----------------------------------- Snappy, Jazzy holiday toonz by the established guitarist Phil Sheeran, must admit, this was in the player in November. Short Reviews of Media That Make A Difference Baltimore Resources, Winter, 96-97 ------------------------------------ Ring- or, more accurately, strum.... in the holiday season with 'I'll Be Home For Christmas,' guitarist Phil Sheeran's enchantingly jazzy new Christmas offering on Pssage Records, his own independent label. This recording would be the perfect backdrop for a holiday party or the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning. Although Sheeran is from Seattle, his melodic, Brazilian-tinged strings capture the subltle intimacies and breezy exuberance for which the acoustic guitar is noted. This quality works well on the nice holiday classics, plus one original tune, on the album. The tracks include a mix of solo guitar performances, along with a variety of eclectic acoustic and instrumental duets and ensembles, featuring Phil Markowitz on piano; Andre Feriante, guitar; Richard Warner, flute and sax; Clipper Anderson, bass; and Mark Ivester, drums. We especially liked the guitar-piano interplay on the Mel Torme classic, 'The Christmas Song,' Sheeran-Feriante's dueling-guitar treatment of 'The Little Drummer Boy' and Warner's cunning soprano sax work on 'O Come, O Come Emanuel. Our sole criticism is that we would have liked slightly longer tracks, offering more opportunities for theme development. But, all in all, 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' has secured a niche on our shelf of seasonal CDs. Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City - by K-J Klinka Reviewed December 13, 1996 -------------------------------------- PHIL SHEERAN - BIO Phil Sheeran has established himself as a guitarist and composer with the national international release of his CD's 'Breaking Through', 'Standing on Fishes', 'It's A Good Thing', 'Orchid' and The Marc Anthony Latin Guitar Tribute CD plus two holiday albums, 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' and 'The First Noel', and his most recent Japan only release 'Phil Sheeran, The Best of Smooth Jazz Series'. Phil's albums have hit #17 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz and charted top 5 in the nation for air play on contemporary jazz and New Adult Contemporary stations. Phil has performed on the same bill as the Rippingtons, David Benoit, Richard Elliott, Michael Tomlinson, Danny O'Keef and Tom Grant and has recorded with such artists as Eric Marianthal, Steve Kujula, Luis Conte, Gregg Karukas, Andy Narell, Eric Tagg, Brandon Fields, Harvey Mason, and Will Kennedy just to name a few. Phil's educational background is in jazz, classical and Brazilian music. Graduated from the prestigious Cornish Institute of the Arts with a BFA in music, Jazz composition and performance. Phil signed with Sonic Edge Records of Los Angeles, California in 1990 and released his first album 'Breaking Through' nationally. In 1991 came the release of his second album 'Standing on Fishes as it climbed the charts to #4 NAC. Phil was nominated by NAMA (Northwest Area Music Assoc.) both in 1991 & 1992 for Best Jazz Artist, Best Jazz Recording and Best Electric Guitarist. Presently, Phil resides in Los Angeles touring and performing clubs, concerts, festivals ... as a session guitarist and composer, producing music for clubs, radio, film and television. International releases to date include: Japan, Italy, South Africa and Brazil. Review quotes: --- 'With Sheeran there's always more than meets the eye just as he eases our expectations with gentle declarations the guitarist fires up to explosive effect.' Jonathan Widran, JAZZIZ, USA 'With a smooth, clipped-chord sound recalling Earl Klugh sunny, wide-open leads and memorable melodies.' Hilarie Grey, JAZZ TIMES, USA 'Phil is an accomplished acoustic guitarist whose sound and style is a Jazzier version of Earl Klugh.' Al Merritt, JAZZ NOW, USA â??Sheeran's original compositions explode with the emotional depth of an aria ... with Sheeran's fluid acoustic guitar at it's lyrical epicenter.' Kathy Raglund, Seattle Times, USA 'A seductively melodic style, openly revealing the magnetism within this superbly gifted guitarist.' THE MANILA TIMES, Manila, Philippines.