Lara & Reyes Navidad (Higher Octave)

Christmas Records

Record Reviews

Lara & Reyes

Navidad (Higher Octave)

The new release from San Antonio-based acoustic duo Lara & Reyes would seem to offer an enticing new take on the standard set of Christmastime classics. The two are known for their rousing live shows, where they conjure fast and fiery Latin jazz from a pair of acoustic flamenco guitars. So it's surprising to hear how straight they play these songs. Everything from "Winter Wonderland" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" appears on this album, and while Lara & Reyes succeed in producing gorgeous, tradition-bound renditions of each and every song, they also fail to make the songs their own -- to add anything significant to the already lengthy list of those who have come before. Lara & Reyes are nimble, talented, disciplined guitarists, and their treatments of tunes such as "Angels We Have Heard on High" and even "Auld Lang Syne" are beautiful, lively takes. But outside a quickening of the blood on these two songs and a somewhat rote stroll through "Feliz Navidad" (the only title that even hints at Christmas south of the border), the spirit here is more an all-purpose holiday one than anything inspired by the singular talents of this accomplished jazz duo.

**

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Fall Platters
Jeff Lofton
Jericho (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 29, 2019

Texas Platters
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Christopher Hess
Phases & Stages
Rob Halverson
Second Whirled (Record Review)

Feb. 4, 2005

Phases and Stages
Stratford 4
Love and Distortion (Record Review)

March 14, 2003

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle