STYLE: Jazz RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 51659-15031 LABEL: Rhino 512527 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2008-12-05 RRP: £14.67
Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
It's worth saying from the outset that if you dislike jazz or only like traditional Christmas standards sung MOR-style, don't bother to read any further. This is one of the most refreshing collections of Christmas music I have heard for a long time. From the outset Al's inimitable soul jazz voice caresses each note, working around unusually creative revisions of each song. Not a single song is presented "straight" but each is full of what the sleevenotes call "Jarreau-isms that stretch the boundaries of traditional." If you are familiar with Al's music you'll know what to expect: intuitive phrasing, vocal harmonies, ad libs, lashings of syncopation and grooving to get your foot tapping all brought together with the highest production quality. Highlights are the exceptionally smooth "White Christmas", the acapella "I'll Be Home For Christmas" featuring Take 6, and the very free jazzy interpretation of "Carol Of The Bells". To balance these well known songs there are a couple of more unusual tracks such as "Some Children See Him", a simple song that explores how children of different races picture Jesus with their own skin colour, and a strange interlude about tapping across rooftops and jumping down the chimney with good Saint Nick! Despite this CD being marketed to UK Christian retail, this is the first we've heard that Mr Jarreau is a Christian. But believer or not, no one can deny that this is a collection of Christmas standards that is far from standard.
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Christmas favourites from jazz artist Al Jarreau.
Seven-time Grammy winning vocalist releases his firstever Christmas album and his first album of newly recorded music since 2006’s sensational Givin’ It Up with George Benson. AL JARREAU CHRISTMAS includes the singer’s distinctive vocal spin on a dozen yuletide classics.