Christmas Songs (feat. The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra)

Studio Album by released in 2005
Christmas Songs (feat. The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra)'s tracklist:
Jingle Bells
Let It Snow
The Christmas Song
Winter Wonderland
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Christmas Time Is Here
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
White Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
Sleigh Ride
Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep

Christmas Songs (feat. The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra) review

Christmas Songs is Diana Krall’s first full-length Christmas album

Grammy-winning jazz vocalist and pianist Diana Krall joins Anita Baker and Brian Wilson among the prominent artists releasing new holiday discs this season. Some artists who make holiday albums make it difficult on themselves. They hunt for obscure material. They try to write new songs in a genre that has an extraordinarily high failure rate. They try to revise familiar melodies or use trendy production techniques that are like date-stamping a particular recording. Krall's guidelines were relatively simple. She stuck to American popular standards, time-tested melodies and stayed away from religious material. Her various Holiday-themed tracks have popped up over the years, but Christmas Songs is her first full-length Christmas album. Co-produced by Krall, with Grammy award winning, Tommy LiPuma, the album features the talents of renowned arranger and bassist John Clayton (Count Basie, Duke Ellington), guitarist Anthony Wilson (Chris Botti, Michael Buble), drummer Jeff Hamilton (Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole) and bassist Bob Hurst (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live).

The sensational Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra accompanies Krall

Diana Krall delivers a smoky, sophisticated, and slightly melancholy album perfectly suited to accompany eggnog cocktails and romantic afterglow holiday affairs. The sensational Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra, whose urbane arrangements help bring to mind similar works by such iconic vocalists as Nat King Cole, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra, accompanies Krall for Let It Snow, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Jingle Bells. The sound of the orchestra gives each number a swing that guarantees that this disc will be heard at holiday parties everywhere. They never overpower Krall's vocals, but instead provide a strong counter balance that gives the numbers just the right weight. Two of the lesser-known songs on her disc are the melancholy What Are You Doing New Year's Eve and Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep. Legendary composer Johnny Mandel contributes a string arrangement to the latter. Krall sees this song as a lullaby for troubled times. Her version of Let It Snow is a tribute to Duke Ellington. The album's finest moment, however, is the bluesy take on The Christmas Song, which sounds so intimate that you might swear the sexy singer is crooning exclusively for you at of midnight on Christmas Eve. Rounding out the album are previously released versions of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Christmas Time Is Here with a band that includes guitarist Russell Malone.

Each song is a chance to rediscover the spirit of the season

Krall's renditions are joyful, playful and at times introspective. Fans of holiday music and vocal jazz will truly enjoy Christmas Songs – a swinging album from one of the premiere singers in jazz. On it, she excels with an approach mastered long ago: elegant delivery that gives extra polish to a very familiar lineup. It’s hard to breath life into songs that have been heard and recorded more times than anyone cares to remember, but Christmas Songs manages where others fail. At times Diana effectively breaks out into scatting, and frequently tweaks the melodies to just the right extent as one would expect of a jazz singer. Of course, her piano moves into the foreground at times as well. Each song is a chance to rediscover the spirit of the season before it became so commercialized and glossy (the Christmas of your youth, when everything was still a wonder to behold). With its dynamic arrangements and pitch-perfect mix of pop and jazz, this album stands alongside other timeless Yuletide outings.

(23.12.2005)
Rate review3.21
Total votes - 42


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