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Christmas Time Is Here

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 5, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Vocalist Dianne Reeves releases her first-ever holiday CD, Christmas Time Is Here, on Blue Note Records. The 11-song collection features Reeves' longtime trio of pianist Peter Martin, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Greg Hutchinson. Special guests include guitarist Romero Lubambo, saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Joe Locke and the Sirius String Quartet.

Amazon.com

Jazz singer Dianne Reeves has created one of the tastiest holiday jazz records in recent memory. Ripe with emotional transformations and musical innovation, Reeves takes you on a winter sleigh ride rich with an acute sense of phrasing and a warm, range that will captivate. You won't immediately recognize most of the dozen standards here since Reeves and a smart group, led by pianist Peter Martin, revise and deconstruct the holiday staples that range from "Christmas Time Is Here" to "Christ Child's Lullaby" (the former delivered like a torchy love song, the latter a delicate folk arrangement framed by a string section). This singer's singer takes such delight in singing in and out of melody lines and pushing a phrase above, below and sometimes beyond that she sweeps you up into her flights of fancy and finesse. Just listen to her change "The Christmas Waltz" into a rhythmic wonder. The reward for owning this disc once the ornaments and the rest of the CDs go back in the attic? You get to keep this one out and play it all year round. --Martin Keller
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 5, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B0002W4UKC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,130 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
What fun it is to hear Dianne Reeves giving fresh interpretations of Christmas standards. In an exciting album of great variety, she ranges from an almost traditional interpretation of "The Christmas Song," which she sings as a slow, danceable ballad with simple piano accompaniment (Peter Martin), to her spectacular jazz celebration of "A Child Is Born," with drums (Gregory Hutchinson), wailing sax (Steve Wilson), syncopation, and Dianne singing scat.

Apparently recognizing that most people buying Christmas albums are looking for music that has some resemblance to the traditional carols they grew up with, Dianne does not aim to overpower the original sounds with jazz variations, choosing instead to recognize the mood and meaning of each song while giving it a unique twist. "Little Drummer Boy," which opens the album, for example, is sung as a clean, quiet ballad, but its unexpected syncopated beat and an accompaniment consisting solely of drums, bass, and percussion create an exciting new interpretation. "Carol of the Bells," with a happy, up-tempo beat and deliberate dissonance, features extended solo riffs on the vibes (Joe Locke) and sax (Steve Wilson), and though Dianne sticks fairly close to the original melody, she does it in surprising, finger-popping swing beat.

In the wonderful "Let it Snow," a happy, toe-tapping background of bass and cymbals sets off Dianne's extended scat and a jazz piano solo by Peter Martin. One of the most unusual songs is the upbeat "Christmas Waltz" (though no one would ever try to waltz to it). With a fast, syncopated bass (Reuben Rogers), guitar (Reuben Lumbambo) and piano, Dianne allows herself to be a jazz artist here, singing scat, and, in a nice touch, including children at the end.
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Format: Audio CD
The best jazz singers take the songs to new places without losing their listeners. Reeves is a master, whether she's being backed by a jazz quartet or a string quartet. Equally at home with the swirling scat of "Let It Snow" or the hushed elegance of the traditional "Christ Child's Lullaby," Reeves makes Christmas Time ... a classic for all seasons and all listeners.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't have one CD from Dianne Reeves that's a dud! She always does great work and puts out projects well worth their price. This one is no different. It's a great listen and because it doesn't sound totally Christmas-y, you'll probably be playing it beyond the Christmas season.
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Format: Audio CD
Dianne and company bring sophisticated jazz arrangements to traditional holiday favorites and a few more obscure tunes. About 300 percent better than the average holiday CD!
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Format: Audio CD
When I first got wind of this project I knew it was going to be something special. Until now, I have never purchased anything by this artist. Although I have always respected her craft. Now I must own her catalog. Ms. Reeves' voice is pure perfection here. My favorities are Little Drummer Boy, Christmas Time Is Here, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Let It Snow, and Have yourself A Merry Little Christmas. From beginning to end, Ms. Reeves' x-mas CD is pure class. See for yourself. Note: This CD is excellent for any x-mas festivity. In fact, it will get substantial playing time out of season at my place.
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Format: Audio CD
What fun it is to hear Dianne Reeves giving fresh interpretations to Christmas standards. In an exciting album of great variety, she ranges from an almost traditional interpretation of "The Christmas Song," which she sings as a slow, danceable ballad with simple piano accompaniment (Peter Martin), to her spectacular jazz celebration of "A Child Is Born," with drums (Gregory Hutchinson), wailing sax (Steve Wilson), syncopation, and Dianne singing scat.

Apparently recognizing that most people buying Christmas albums are looking for music that has some resemblance to the traditional carols they grew up with, Dianne does not aim to overpower the original sounds with jazz variations, choosing instead to recognize the mood and meaning of each song while giving it a unique twist. "Little Drummer Boy," which opens the album, for example, is sung as a clean, quiet ballad, but its unexpected syncopated beat and an accompaniment consisting solely of drums, bass, and percussion create an exciting new interpretation. "Carol of the Bells," with a happy, up-tempo beat and deliberate dissonance, features extended solo riffs on the vibes (Joe Locke) and sax (Steve Wilson), and though Dianne sticks fairly close to the original melody, she does it in surprising, finger-popping swing beat.

In the wonderful "Let it Snow," a happy, toe-tapping background of bass and cymbals sets off Dianne's extended scat and a jazz piano solo by Peter Martin. One of the most unusual songs is the upbeat "Christmas Waltz" (though no one would ever try to waltz to it). With a fast, syncopated bass (Reuben Rogers), guitar (Reuben Lumbambo) and piano, Dianne allows herself to be a jazz artist here, singing scat, and, in a nice touch, including children at the end.
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Format: Audio CD
"Ms. Reeves, a jazz singer of frequent astonishing skill, takes the assignment seriously; this is one of the best Christmas CDs I've heard." ~ Ben Ratliff, New York Times ~

I echo Ben Ratliff's sentiments on this CD and about Dianne Reeves who won four Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Performance between 2001 and 2006. This is not so surprising because any album of Dianne Reeves will always give the listeners an assured enjoyable listening experience. She has recorded a string of quality albums that are all worthy to be in any jazz lover's collection. She is often compared to Sarah Vaughan, a remarkable jazz singer who had the ability to fully utilize all the resources of her vocals. And like Sarah Vaughan, Ms. Reeves has limitless vocal range and impressive scatting prowess. Musical attributes considered plus her artistic achievements in terms of bestselling albums and multiple Grammy Awards, which she deservedly won, she has proven her worth and rightful place among the top female jazz artists in the modern era.

In May of 2004, she recorded a Christmas album titled "Christmas Time Is Here" under the prestigious record label, Blue Note. It was released five months later. It is a program of 11 of the most popular Christmas songs arranged in jazzy settings thereby making them so appealing to the ears. She grouped together a top-notch line-up of musicians to back her up for the project namely Peter Martin (piano), Romero Lubambo (guitar), Steve Wilson (sax), Reuben Rogers (bass), Gregory Hutchinson (drums), Joe Locke (vibes), Munyungo Jackson (percussion) and a String Quartet made up of violinists Meg Okura and Gregor Huebner, viola player Ron Lawrence and cellist Dave Eggers.

For a starter, I invite you to listen first to "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
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