44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2004
When the presents have been unwrapped, the guests have gone and you're ready to dim the lights and spend some quiet time with your loved one, THIS is the CD you want to have handy to put on.
Peterson's unobtrusive and soothing, yet sophisticated tinkling of the ivories provides the ideal instrumental backdrop to whatever holiday activities you may have in mind.
On this CD, Peterson masterfully pulls off the extremely delicate feat of not making his music so dense as to turn off those of us not into Jazz, while at the same time never stooping to becoming the light fluff despised by true Jazz fans. It is this integrity and intelligence which sets this album apart from the rest of the Christmas pack and makes it truly outstanding.
I consider it one of the very, very best Christmas albums in my entire collection, and am happy to give it my highest recommendation to you.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2004
This CD hardly needs another 5-star review but it's going to get one anyway :) So if you're still wondering if you're going to like this CD --
* You like Oscar Peterson? Buy it and enjoy. He's in fine form, laid-back and respectful of the tunes but not slaved to the sheet music.
* You like cool jazz? Good heavens why are you reading this, surely you already own this one! No? Well then, you need to fix that right now!
* You like Christmas music? Get it. Don't let the jazz category scare you away. Sure, Oscar isn't going to play every note exactly as you've always heard it, but there's never a note out of place and this is music he respects and likes, too. His laid back style on this CD just fits so well that its a CD I love and my 80-year-old Mom likes and she's no fan of jazz.
Bottom line is that this is wonderful music played by a legend on piano. Get it and enjoy.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
Almost every household has a moment during the Christmas season when Christmas music gets to be, well, too much. When that moment hits--and it will--turn off whatever you have on and put on "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" for a refreshingly astringent, swinging change of pace that still subtly evokes the joy and splendor of the season.
The album opens with "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and goes right through "What Child Is This?", "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and all manner of other holiday favorites. The difference is that Peterson puts his masterful spin on the songs so that they sound not saccharine and dripping with false sentiment, but bracing and clear and fairly snapping with energy. Could there be more innocuous song than "Jingle Bells?" Well, on this album, Peterson and flugelhorn player Jack Schantz make it into a smoothy-smooth, swingin' be-boppy pleasure to listen to.
In addition to all the classics, there is one original here that's well worth the price of the album all on its own: "Christmas Waltz." This is a gorgeous meditation on the regret and memories that can crowd a Christmas--you'll want to put it on while dancing in the dark in front of a roaring fire with your sweetie. Have a glass of champagne while you're at it. See what happens. Highly recommded!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"Oscar Peterson is simply the world's greatest jazz pianist and one of the greatest virtuosos in jazz. That's the title he has won from music audiences, critics and fellow artists." ~ André Previn ~
What good is this Christmas album, "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" without the combined talents of a crew of the finest jazz musicians whom Oscar Peterson personally selected to help him make this recording a truly powerful work of art?
Recorded in 1995 by Telarc in its new exclusive 20-bit technology, the listeners are guaranteed the best quality sound ever. Telarc has an exceptional reputation not only for producing discs of the highest quality standards, but also for utilizing top-of-the-line digital recording techniques.
The living legend of jazz piano and 14-times recipient of the "Best Jazz Pianist of the Year" given by Down Beat Magazine, Oscar Peterson, is surrounded by some of the best musicians in the history of jazz - Dave Samuels (vibes), David Young (bass), Jack Schantz (flugelhorn), Lorne Lofsky (guitar), Jerry Fuller (drums) and Rick Wilkins (conductor/arranger for String Ensemble).
It's hard to single out a favorite tune for all the tracks are winners. You can't just ignore Mr. Peterson's brilliant and exquisite piano playing particularly the last track, a solo piano performance of "O Christmas Tree," which is just the perfect finale for this amazing Christmas CD.
"Silent Night" is heavenly! From the very first note to the last, this Christmas classic was given the smoothest treatment you can ever have the pleasure of listening to in a jazz recording. Ditto with "The Christmas Waltz," which is the sweetest instrumental rendition ever recorded.
Dave Samuels who used to be with Spyro Gyra and most famously known for his remarkable solo performance on the album "Morning Dance" dazzles the listeners with his primary instrument on some of the most charming tunes such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "White Christmas," "Let It Snow," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Winter Wonderland."
This is one of the most beautiful Christmas albums ever recorded. I most definitely recommend it for your listening pleasure this Yuletide Season.
"Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Stars and angels gave the sign" ~ Christina Georgina Rossetti ~
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2004
This is perfect, instrumental, holiday music. Being an Oscar Peterson fan, I am bias, but this is not your typical 'jazz' holiday disc. Do not hesitate on buying this disc because you don't like jazz. My brother hates jazz but he loves this disc. The solos herein never deviate too far from the melody and a warm, mellow tone of Christmas by the fireside resonates in every song. To me, a blasting trumpet or searing guitar solo is never well suited for Christmas music. This disc sits in the background perfectly, sets a beautiful peaceful mood and pleases the senses.
This is simply the most wonderful adult Christmas Eve album available, period. It is perfect for sipping an evening cocktail and sitting in the dark with nothing on but Christmas lights. I cannot imagine anyone regetting the purchase of this disc, and I rarely say that.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 1998
Oscar Peterson has done it again!!! For years I have tried to find a Christmas album in the traditional Jazz style, only to be disappointed time and time again. However, one of the true masters of this art form has finally released a Jazz Christmas album worthy of attention. His performance is as ferociously exciting as it was during his Verve recordings, yet tender, delicate, and even evoking reflection at times as you and yours listen to these classics in a new way. Oscar has finally given Jazz fans a collection of Christmas songs done in the style of Jazz which favors rich dynamics over bland arrangements. Do yourself a favor and buy this!!!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2003
Labeled as one of the greatest pianist in the jazz world, Oscar Peterson definitely shines on this album. He maintains the original Christmas melodies, but also adds his own personal touch to each and every song. This is a must for your holiday collection. I'm very particular about the jazz albums that I buy and this one did not let me down...you will NOT be disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2010
I find myself agreeing with another 4 star review about this appealing to "jazz novices" and about the schmaltzy violins. It's cleanly done and it's still Oscar, but...
For a contrasting example of not-too-sweet, check out Duke Ellington's cover of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" on "Three Suites". His nicely bent version of "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" is especially good, right down to his title-change to "Sugar Rum Cherry".
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2007
Of course, this is a very well recorded disc, with great balance and tone, and the choice of tunes is just right.... so.... why only 4 stars. Well... while I'm sure this disc will appeal to even non-jazz folks.... I found the violin intros and fills just a tad smaltzy... and an unnecessary addition to an otherwise excellent recording.
Just my opinion..... and believe me, I will still listen to and enjoy this fine album.... I just would have replaced the violins with either another guitar or possibly a B3.
However..... over all, an excellent addition to ANYBODY's Christmas music collection, and one I will enjoy for years to come.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2001
Peterson has put together a lovely holiday album, one that bears up to repeated listening. For my money, it's not only one of the best jazz treatments of Christmas tunes, but one of the all-around best Christmas collections in recent years. I especially enjoy David Young's fine, lively bass work, notable right at the start in "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman." Featured on some of the selections, Guest artist Jack Schantz adds a warm and lyrical touch with his flugelhorn, including the mature, mellow rendition of "I'll Be Home for Christmas." And Peterson's take on "O Christmas Tree" is the first I've heard in many years that doesn't sound like an imitation of Vince Guaraldi's version. The work here ranges from playful ("Let It Snow") to sober ("What Child Is This?), but always in Peterson's impeccable, gracefule style.