A classically trained pianist, Howard Lopez is at home with easy listening and light jazz as well. His Music and Mistletoe is light fare, instrumental (piano and some orchestral accompaniment), and appropriate background for lighthearted holiday times.
"Holiday Waltz", the first of two Lopez compositions, is a nice skating rink tune, remindful of It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. His "Snow Flurries" is pensive, suspenseful, sort of a boy meets girl, loses girl, gets girl kind of tune, more serious all the way around. I found "Holiday Waltz" the better of the two, its melody, its structure, its suspense, climax, catharsis. Both songs are wintry, and neither are sweet or precious.
Mr. Lopez plays keyboards with an attractive style and makes the most of his accompanists, particularly his three sax players, Michael Stuart, Paul Lamoureux, and Chris Gale. His offering will surely satisfy easy listening fans.
Martin Levin - Music Critic - Toronto Star
Review in " The Women's Network Newspaper"
I'm usually not keen on instrumental song albums, often finding them cliched and uninventive, missing the subtleties of the human voice over instrumentation.
So it was with some trepidation that I put on this Noel-music CD from Toronto musician, Howard Lopez. I worried that it might be a kind of Christmas karaoke, music to carol with after a bit if nog and grogg. But the album's much more than that.
It's mainly piano, with occasional bursts from flute and saxophone, and is ultimately very listenable. After a pleasant beginning with "Deck the Halls" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", Lopez gives us multi-generic readings of various seasonal songs. "O Christmas Tree" is lounge-like slightly jazzy (presented in 5/4 time in contrast to the Traditional 3/4 metre); "Silent Night" is reverential, then gathers momentum. "Greensleeves" is sweetly freeform; "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" begins gently and slightly solemnly, them turns sprightly and even sexy (a sax can do that).
My two favorites were "Jingle Blues", an innately tedious tune, that here, gets an adagio reading that reminds me of Willie Nelson in his best melancholic mode. And "Rockin' King W" (Good King Wenceslas) is delivered in a very up-tempo "R&B-ish" style.
Lopez and company deserves praise for having thought out the song and the album in some detail and overcoming the hurdles of producing interesting instrumentals
Sorry I'm just getting back to you now!
The Festival of Trees in Kingston would like to order 200 of your generic Christmas CDs for sale in our Market area.
Thanks so much for all your help and I'm really looking forward to receiving the product!
The sample CD you sent to me was excellent! We're really looking forward to getting on board with these CDs!
Managing Director - Festival of Trees
Just listened to your latest Christmas CD while driving into work.
It's totally relaxing and I just love it!!!
The sound is clear and the quality is excellent!
Keep on producing!
Brampton Board of Trade
Check out the artist's website:
1. Deck the Halls
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3. Oh Christmas Tree
4. Jingle Blues
5. Holiday Waltz
6. Silent Night
7. Snow Flurries
8. Huron Carol
9. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
10. O Holy Night
11. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
12. Rockin' King W (Good King Wenceslas)