Royce Campbell

A Jazz Guitar Christmas

Moon Cycle Records - EG1958

A Jazz Guitar Christmas is a collection of eleven Christmas classics by ace guitarist Royce Campbell, accompanied here by bassist Tom Baldwin and drummer Howard Curtis, Jr.

We are treated to Royce's warm tone, crisp articulation, and tasty arrangements of holiday classics like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Toyland," and "O Christmas Tree." Songs like "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "White Christmas" are given a bossa nova treatment, while "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" gets funky, and "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" swings like mad.

The one vocal on the CD, "Live Every Day like Christmas," is a Royce original composition sung by Everette Greene in his wonderfully warm, baritone voice.

The band stretches out on "We Three Kings," whereupon they state the melody and then follow with an extended free-form exploration, á la John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things."

The CD ends on a wistful note with Royce soloing on "The Christmas Song."

This highly enjoyable CD is perfect for your next holiday get-together. Be sure to put one under the tree for all your Jazz guitar-loving friends.

By Linda Goshay