It’s Thanksgiving week and we were supposed to be in New York right now. But Airberlin unfortunately had other plans. So we’re going to prepare a turkey ourselves here. And it is also the start of the holiday music season. This year again, a few interesting Christmas albums have been released.
Smokey Robinson has come up with “Christmas Everyday”, his second holiday album of his career, the first being “Christmas With The Miracles” from 1963. On his new album which comes with a retro Motown cover, he delivers the classics in his signature style, including a Latinized version of “White Christmas”. Guests on the album include Trombone Shorty, Us The Duo, the Dap Kings, and Take 6 (on a classic “O Holy Night”). R&B and soul diva Chanté Moore has recorded the occasional Xmas song over the years, mainly as a guest singer (for example on a pretty sexy version of “Santa Baby” on an album by Boney James). She has now delivered her first Christmas record, “Christmas Back To You”, which includes a handful of orginial tunes, but lacks a bit of the strong production and arrangement credits from her early work.
There’s also a new Herb Alpert record out called “The Christmas Wish”. His first one with the Tijuana Brass, from 1968, is still a welcome holiday album in our home with a gorgeous “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle”. The new one features a full symphony orchestra and 32-member choir and his trumpet still sounds as relaxed and easy as usual. Saxophonist Dave Koz has released his fifth holiday album this year: the “20th Anniversary Christmas” record features his pals David Benoit, Rick Braun, and Peter White plus a few special guest singers. Kenny Lattimore does a beautiful job on “Hallelujah” and Gabriel Orengo delivers a splendid “Feliz Navidad”. Elsewhere, we get Selina Albright, Javier Colon, and Jeffrey Osborne.
Singer and trumpeter Johnny Britt has released “Christmas Time Of The Year”, mostly featuring originals plus a version of the classic “This Christmas”. Johnny’s soulful voice and crisp production is one of the nice features here. Pretty soulful and dynamic with a touch of jazz, is singer Fantasia‘s “Christmas After Midnight”. With the help of Larry Koonse, Gary Bias, or Dan Higgins, hers is a very stylish, not too slick Christmas collection to enjoy. Patti LaBelle now has three Christmas records in her discography (the first two are “This Christmas”, 1990, and “Miss Patti’s Christmas”, 2007). Her new one, “Home For The Holidays”, is listed as Patti LaBelle & Friends. And among her friends are Vivian Green, Ruben Studdard, Jamar Jones, and Tamela Mann. Patti is lead singer on six of the 14 songs and she still sends chills on tracks like “Don’t Save It All For Christmas” with her powerful voice or on “Mary, Did You Know?”.
Also worth a mention is the Christmas album by trumpeter Chris Pasin which features a very funny version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Chris also on vocals with Patricia Dalton Fennell. And “These Christmas Days” by singer Jason Paul Curtis with a lot of original tunes and for those out there who are more into the traditional swing type of tunes.