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Showing 1-10 of 52 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 110 reviews
on January 15, 2014
I had already liked this album, having owned it in the CD version. The music goes down like smooth, hot-buttered rum. The Transfer are in great form here, and their renditions bring to mind the holiday music we used to listen to from the past--they do not try to do anything crazy with the arrangements, and do not slaughter the songs like so many recent artists do. "Snowfall", the lead-off track, is likely my favorite of the whole album. Tony Bennett even makes an appearance! Musically, it is a holiday classic.

The sonics of the SACD edge out the CD, with the listener being rewarded with a warmer, more musical sound without the "edge" of low-resolution CD digital. As there are few left, grab this SACD if you see it! And keep in mind that it is indeed a single layer disc--there is no CD layer, so you will still need to hold onto your CD if you plan on using it anywhere else than in your SACD player.
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on August 4, 2008
It always surprises me that this very special Christmas album from The Manhattan Transfer doesn't show up on everyone's list of must have holiday music. Like snowflakes drifting by a frosty windowpane, there is something very wistful and melancholy about this labor of love from Alan Paul, Janis Siegal, Tim Hauser, and Cheryl Bentyne. And there is some fun mixed in as well, the trademark 1930's and 1940's elegance of this fabulous group on glorious display.

Tony Bennett joins the group on probably the most heralded track from this project, The Christmas Song. As covers go, it rivals Gloria Estefan's stunningly classy take on this Christmas chestnut. The opening song, Snowfall, is just as good, however, and deserves to kick off this marvelous collection of Christmas favorites. The Manhattan Transfer always manage a surprise or two on every album, and this is no exception.

A Christmas Love Song is one of the prettiest and certainly one of the most romantic of Christmas love songs in the vocal genius of these four talents. Johnny Mandel handled the vocal arrangements and put music to Alan and Marilyn Bergman's beautiful lyrics, placing it right up there with The Carpenters' Merry Christmas, Darling. And the fun medley, Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season, adds a smile to the melancholy.

By the time the Transfer sing Judy Garland's version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Chrismas, then close with Goodnight, you'll be a fan of both this wonderful group and this Christmas album. Having been a fan of The Manhattan Transfer since they began, Mystery being one of my favorite songs ever recorded, I don't know how any Christmas collection could be complete without this one.
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on March 19, 2006
Christmas Music is part of the American Way of Life. Year after year, American people get full of joy and the pleasure of listening to Christmas Music becomes a must.Also artists from many different styles and their labels are very conscious about it. It is rare to find an artist from the traditional pop scene who has not recorded at least one Christmas Album.

Unfortunately, this Christmas tradition in American music scene is fading away among young artists though sales keep hot in the season. This proves traditional pop artists have got a market niche which maintains year after year even selling the very same album that has been recorded many decades ago.

Repertoire is basically the same and this is another peculiar facet of Christmas Music. This is an indicator of the traditional `American way of buying music'.

It is commonplace in the USA that many different traditional pop artists record the same hit song in a season. I remember one well-known song that has been recorded by Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, and even Astrud Gilberto, besides its sensational original take. This shows Americans like to listen to that same song or repertoire as recorded specifically by their favorite artists.

It is different than the music industry and customers in Brazil, for instance. If an artist records the same songs as other one does, he is minorly categorized as a `cover artist'. This is a bad category which labels the artist a minor artist, lacking creativeness as for Brazilian market parameters.

It is very interesting, anyway, to listen to the same repertoire as recorded by so many different artists from so many different times under so many different arrangement concepts. Comparison arises inevitably. Somehow, a delicious comparison. What's the best `Jingle Bells' from Johnny Mathis to Diana Krall? Who's recorded the most creative `Silent Night' - Wynton Marsalis or Nat King Cole? There is a killer `Jingle Bells' recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra under arrangement by Michel Legrand and with Jean Pierre Rampal on flute. Ooooh God!

Year after year, those albums are made available by continuous reissuing or not. Some even keep in the label's catalog on and on even out the Christmas season.

This is the case for this `The Christmas Album' recorded by one of the dearest Jazz vocal ensembles in the place and arranged by the master Johnny Mandel.

Some uncommon and some very common songs make up the program. Here what matters is the 'Manhattan style', like it or not. I like it. I like their sometimes pop, sometimes jazzy approach.

Common Christmas songs here include `Let It Snow', `Silent Night', 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', and `It Came Upon the Midnight Clear'.

The idea to include unconventional the Beatles' `Goodnight' worked very well and it's a differentiation point. The world Christmas anthem by Mel Tormé `The Christmas Song' is great too though one may say it is preferably to be listened to in its original take as sung by Nat King Cole!

Also program opens with a beautiful rendition of 'Snowfall'.

This is a great Christmas album. The Manhattan Transfer imparts a different view to the Chritsmas repertoire.
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on February 27, 2010
Believe it or not this album is right up there with the All-Time Christmas Classic albums by: Nat 'King' Cole, Johnny Mathis, Mahalia Jackson, Natalie Cole, and Stevie Wonder. On this your just hear pure vocal harmonizing. This is something this group has been doing now for over 35 (Thirty-Five) years! On this Soon-To-Be-Christmas-Classic the group's perfect harmony blend so well together on this album it gives Holiday Music a whole new meaning...Once again! Several artists have taken the seriousness of singing to another place...not the case here! There's a few Might-Put-You-To-Sleep-Songs, but like I said just a few. The favorites are: "Snowfall", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"/"Santa Man" (Medley), The Christmas Song" featuring Tony Bennett, "Happy Holiday"/"The Holiday Season" (Medley), and "Goodnight". You're not gonna find too many Christmas albums like this.
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on December 15, 2006
I bought this CD when it was first released back in 1992. I thought it was one of the best Christmas albums then, and I think it still is today. Actually, this is a collection of Christmas songs, with two exceptions--more about those in a minute. The Christmas songs go from solemn to swinging--with the Transfer's voices, either singly or blended (as they do so well) performing flawlessly, buoyed by Johnny Mandel's meticulous arrangements. As great as the Christmas songs are, though, the best two tunes on the album are the "non-Christmas" songs. "Snowfall," the simple, yet delightful Claude Thornhill compostiion, is one of my favorite tunes of the swing era. By its name, it has tended to become associated with the Christmas season, but it's not really a Christmas song and is a great tune anytime. The ManTran do a superb cover of it here, and Mandel's arrangement is stellar. The other tune is "Goodnight," an almost forgotten lullaby composed by Paul McCartney and recorded on the Beatles' "White Cover" album. Quite frankly, it WAS pretty forgettable as the Beatles recorded it, but the ManTran turn it into a work of vocal art here. The childs' voices (children of the Manhattan Transfer members) are a little distracting at the end of the tune, but, hey, they are the performers' kids and it IS Christmastime.

Over the years, there have been some abysmal recordings released of Christmas songs. This is definitely NOT one of those. Back in '92, the Manhattan Transfer got it right, and it's still one of the best albums of Christmas music that you can find. Even my "non-jazz-loving" friends love this album.
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on December 28, 2014
This was a replacement for my original: a cassette tape, which I wore out! This album is clever, joyful, fun, and beautiful. Arrangements are full and rich. If you have not heard this, (where have you been?!) this album will delight you. No serious Christmas collection is complete without it.
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on January 28, 2017
I love this cd! I had it several years ago and somehow lost it. I was so happy to find it on Amazon!
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on December 10, 2016
I am a huge fan. Was introduced to them in my teens when they had a summer show on TV.
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on December 3, 2016
One of the best Christmas Albums I've ever heard.
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on February 17, 2017
Awesome, as usual, of Manhattan Transfer!
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