First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2005, Volume 12, #12
Written by John Metzger
Anyone expecting Diana Krallís latest effort Christmas Songs to be filled to the brim with unimaginative and syrupy renditions of Yuletide standards is bound to be pleased by the feisty manner with which she tackles at least some of the material on the set. Indeed, throughout the album, she is backed by the impeccable Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and together, they unleash a splashy sophistication that is playful, fun, and, at times, downright groovy. The opening cut Jingle Bells, for example, effortlessly jumps, bops, and swings with a Count Basie-meets-Lena Horne giddiness, and Krall frolics jubilantly within Let It Snowís cool and breezy classicism. Unfortunately, the outing falters significantly whenever she slows down the tempo and turns her vocals into a seductively breathy coo. As a result, several of the tracks ó Iíll Be Home for Christmas, Vince Guaraldiís Christmas Time Is Here, and Mel Tormťís seminal The Christmas Song, among them ó veer dangerously close to becoming overly precious and utterly generic, lightweight fluff. For the most part, however, she keeps the momentum flowing simply by giving her supporting cast a starring role in the proceedings. Itís no secret that, for years, the jazz world has been producing some of the finest collections of holiday music available, and although Krallís Christmas Songs isnít perfect, it undoubtedly not only will please her longstanding fans, but also will lend a few of its gems to future compilations.
Other Christmas Album Reviews at The Music Box
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box