Christmas Saxophone Music

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Making "Is It Christmas Yet?" CD

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Is It Christmas Yet? CD | Greg Vail

Is It Christmas Yet cover art. Christmas Jazz CD New for 2004 has Christmas Time Is Here, Angels We Have Heard On High, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, White Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, Away In A Manger, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Silent Night, Winter Wonderland and We Three Kings.

Is It Christmas Yet? Home Page | Christmas Yet? CD Booklet | Christmas Yet? Thanks | The Making of Is It... | The Making Part II | Christmas Yet? CD Review | Teen Jazz CD Review | Customer Testimonials

Is It Christmas Yet? CD

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A Little History…

It was the year 2000, and even though Y2K had people projecting complete world annihilation, I got some cash and started my own record label, Greg Vail Music.

I released “"Christmas The Hymns” December 1, 2000 on Greg Vail Music. Check out the Making Of Christmas The Hymns here. It is a very popular article at

In a few short weeks I had a huge success story with a New Record Label (and it was MINE), a New Solo CD and it paid for itself in about 3 weeks.

With Christmas 2000 done and gone, I jumped into a Gospel CD, covering some of my favorite Worship songs from SADDLEBACK CHURCH in Lake Forest, CA.

Like a whirlwind romance, I decided to make an emotional move to purchase, own and redistribute my First Solo CD so I would own all of my CDs as an Artist. I owed some money for back product, the old label and I had pretty lame records on what had happened so I kinda paid too much to pay everything off and bought my Debut CD all in one move.

I re-released “eMotion” in 2002 on Greg Vail Music and now I had three CDs in my catalog.

I had been playing with some pretty ‘small pond’ figures and the “eMotion” CD really stopped the cash flow and CD releases for a bit. I decided I would need some outside help or maybe a real Record Label if I ever did another CD.

I had this one guy bugging me at the Church and I kept kinda blowing him off but he was persistent. I have no idea how many times I didn’t give Rick a second thought about this or that idea he had. For some reason, when he came to me about wanting to do a Christmas CD this year, I listened.

Rick Alvarez made me a deal that started driving me crazy. I spent 2 weeks going over my part of the expenses and finally decided I could not do it. I was to cover Musicians and Manufacturing and I was broke.

With the Musician calls going out, I found out my friends did not really want much to record with me, and some said they would go on spec (paid when I have cash flow from the CD) and that started freaking me out. I still had NO Money and this was becoming too good to walk away from.

I made a call I had never made in my life. I called my Mom and explained what was going on and she said, “Great, Do you think XYZ will cover it?” I had all the figures ready so I knew…

I was gonna have a New CD coming out!! Rick and I had been talking about this for a couple of weeks now so when I called Rick to say, “What about Monday Night?” He was all ready to go.

Recording A NEW CD

Christmas Music by Greg Vail - Saxophonist.I had some songs selected, musicians I wanted to use, some arrangements in my head and the weekend to get it all together.


Of course the Musicians needed to be scheduled once the session was confirmed OK because we were recording in Church and needed to work around the Church services there.

Song Selection

I had pulled my Christmas Books when the CD started looking like a real possibility but there are steps to these things. Some of the songs I used are Public Domain – Traditional. That means the Copyrights are nonexistent or no longer in effect so these songs would be free to use. The Copyright stuff is a little more complicated.

You can go online and License Songs for recording but they ask for information you don’t have yet like the length of the song recorded. The amount you pay is standard and you can research this at Harry Fox Agency. They base the fee on how long the song is. You have no idea how long the song is because it is not recorded yet, but you do not want to start recording a song without some confirmation that the song will be available to License.

I don’t know how other people do it, but I took every song on my list and applied for the License right up to inputting Credit Card information, just far enough to see if Harry Fox would be able to give me 100% of the License. Some songs I pulled off the list because Harry Fox didn’t have the option and Christmas was getting closer by the day and I didn’t have time to screw around with chasing rights for this or that.

Once I had a list of possible songs and the open nights to record, I called the guys and gave them the choice of songs they might want to do. I wanted input so each performance would be inspired by both individual talent and love for the material.

Bobby Cruz - or Bobby's hands playing that B3With Saddleback Church having a B3 Organ, I made plans to have one of my club bosses and fellow Church musician, Bobby Cruz play B3 and Saddleback Guitarist and Arranger, Jason Mills cover the Jazz Guitar. I talked with both of them a few times until we had 4 songs for each of them picked out to track.

The Studio was booked, songs selected and I then got the other solo chair guys together on the song selection…

Rhythm Section calls came easy. I have spent a few years working with Rob Mullins band regulars David Levray, Bass, and Bubba Bryant, Drums. Got the studio for a Monday and Tuesday night so they were cool and I was set.

The only loose ends were whether to use Upright Bass and a possible track or 2 with just Guitar and Sax with longtime friend Rick Flauding.

Greg Vail on The Christmas SessionsMy Upright Bass friend was totally buried so I called another great bass player friend and asked for the best referral he had for the Upright Bass. Dave Stone was contracted and now the pieces were all in place. I copied every Christmas Song I had on the maybe list and headed off to the studio.

Continue reading.... Part II - The Making of "Is It Christmas Yet?" ~ Recording Sessions with Photo's

Greg Vail

Is It Christmas Yet? Home Page | Christmas Yet? CD Booklet | Christmas Yet? Thanks | The Making of Is It... | The Making Part II | Christmas Yet? CD Review | Teen Jazz CD Review | Customer Testimonials

Is It Christmas Yet?

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