Friday, November 27, 2009

Casual Listening - Christmas Album Roundup

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

November 27, 2009

Happy post-Thanksgiving, all. We’re into the end of the year, and new releases slow to a crawl, so I’ve got a series of special features for you over the next few weeks:

Nov 27: Christmas Album Roundup

Dec 4: Greatest Misses: stuff I’ve overlooked

Dec 11: The best of 2009

Dec 18: The best of the decade

Dec 25 & Jan 1: No reviews, possibly some special features

Jan 8: Launch of the new

Christmas Album Roundup

* Kermit Ruffins – Have a Crazy Cool Christmas (jazz)

It doesn’t snow in New Orleans in December, but that doesn’t keep Ruffins from spreading some holiday cheer. Spot-on Dixieland and funk jazz renditions of the classics along with a few surprises.

Listen to Kermit Ruffins “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Andrea Bocelli – My Christmas (vocal)

As a recording of a beautiful voice with over-the-top orchestration, Bocelli’s album belongs in the same category as Bing Crosby’s Christmas recordings. Some of the carols have a more classical bent, others more pop, but all of the have the kind of sentimental feel that brings families together around the hearth this time of year.

Listen to Andrea Bocelli “White Christmas

Bifrost Arts – Salvation is Created (rock)

This collective of indie rock artists came together as a group to explore Christian themes in traditional music – which made a Christmas album a natural. The settings draw on a chamber orchestra, with various tracks having violins, xylophone, and electric guitar. These are adventurous and often dark takes on mostly familiar standards.

Listen to Bifrost Arts “Let All Mortal Flesh

Straight No Chaser – Christmas Cheers (A Capella)

The novelty song is a venerable Christmas tradition, and Straight No Chaser carry it on honorably. Both more listenable and more clever than “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” this album is a big dose of jolly.

Listen to Straight No Chaser “The 12 Days of Christmas

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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