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Various Artists - A Jazz & Blues Christmas

A Jazz & Blues Christmas

Various Artists

Putumayo - PUT-285

Available from Putumayo World Music.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

I confess I have a rather sizeable collection of Christmas LPs & CDs and listen to them whenever I damn well feel like it because each one has to be awfully good to remain in my permanent collection. Thus, they become "anytime music" unrestricted to season or reason. Friends find that a bit eccentric, but I'm pleasing my ears, not theirs. This CD from the impeccable Putumayo people now joins that aggregate of holiday gems, the very first cut here featuring a roaring Christmas Celebration from B.B. King with full band blazing away behind him. Then comes Charles Brown's Santa's Blues with its jiving piano mid-section and Brown's cathouse parlor vocals.

From there, estimables Ray Charles and Ramsey Lewis contribute their swingin' refrains, Lewis particularly rollicking on Here Comes Santa Claus, before giving way to lesser-known but equally talented choices. Randy Greer delivers a vibrantly rhythmic Wrap Yourself in a Christmas Package just before Emilie-Claire Barlow ramps down a bit for a sweet and sexy Santa Baby with strings and Jim Hall-flavored guitar. Topsy Chapman and Lars Edegran kick out a Dixiefied and lamentive The Christmas Blues leading into Riff Ruffin shouting 'n stompin' through Xmas Baby.

My favorites? Greer for his smooth-as-silk be-boppin' and Ruffin for sheer audacity and verve. Lay hold of this disc and the chances are good you won't be much in the mood for a high mass, a good deal more inclined to see if all and sundry mightn't want to emulate Rudolph's glowing schnozz with a bottle of wine and one's sweetie settling in under the hollyhock while the snow falls jealously outside, thwarted in its ambition to put the chill in an increasingly festive Swingin' Santa Soireé.

[For the other stunning Putumayo releases this month, see African Reggae (here), Acoustic Arabia (here), Acoustic France (here) and Women of Jazz (here).]

Track List:

  • B.B. King: Christmas Celebration
  • Charles Brown: Santa's Blues
  • Randy Greer and Ignasi Terraza Trio: Wrap Yourself in a Christmas Package
  • Emiie-Claire Barlow: Santa Baby
  • Ray Charles: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • The Ramsey Lewis Trio: Here Come Santa Claus
  • The Dukes of Dixieland feat. Luther Kent: Merry Christmas Baby
  • Topsy Chapman and Lars Edegran: The Christmas Blues
  • Riff Ruffin: Xmas Baby
  • Mighty Blue Kings: All I Ask for Christmas

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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