Carla Cook, René Marie, Laverne Butler, Mary Stallings, Phillip Manuel, Christine Hitt; musicians various
Musicians various generally means pianist Bruce Barth and colleagues, but there are also Cyrus Chestnut and Mulgrew Miller and Peter Martin, plus colleagues, which can't be bad. For the most part these are Christmas tunes done with unabashed sentiment and often a great groove. The musicians give lovely support to the singers who run through the yuletide book. There is a place for this kind of record on everybody's rack, simply because one may wish to have a cool alternative to Bing and Co. The vocalists do it all right and proper, but the piano players give this collection a special lift. And, anyway, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and The Christmas Song are worth hearing at any time of the year. Greensleaves may be trad., but Bruce Barth gives it new life. Great pianists, good singers. Stuff it in your Christmas stocking for a feeling of goodness and light.
by Lawrence Brazier
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