Putumayo Presents: New Orleans Christmas
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2006, Volume 13, #12
Written by John Metzger
Thereís nary a misstep to be found among the 11 tracks that Putumayo compiled for its latest offering New Orleans Christmas. Throughout the set, Dixieland bands collide with swinging blues grooves in order to conjure a festive atmosphere that is deeply rooted in Southern tradition. Fittingly scattered among the albumís contents are numerous odes to Louis Armstrong, including a playful, cabaret-style rendition of íZat You, Santa Claus? by Ingrid Lucia and a soulful interpretation of Christmas in New Orleans by James Andrews and Allen Toussaint. Elsewhere, Ellis Marsalis uses God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as a launching pad for a stirring improvisational foray; the New Birth Brass Band captures the Crescent Cityís street party atmosphere on its own Santaís Second Line; and Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz crosses Billie Holiday with Bing Crosby on a warm, inviting, and remarkably poignant translation of Iíll Be Home for Christmas. Undeniably, the diversity of the material and the quality of the performances are neatly gift-wrapped by the collectionís overarching thematic flow, and when combined with its aura of timelessness, New Orleans Christmas obtains a decisive edge over most of the other like-minded holiday endeavors.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box