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Christmas Songs

4.2 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is first full length holiday recording by this Grammy Award winning artist. It is an uplifting collection of seasonal favorites,with Krall sounding better than ever on both piano and vocals. Features swinging big band arrangements by John Clayton and several tracks for quartet,including string arrangements by Johnny Mandel.Produced by Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall. Verve. 2005.

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As the song goes, "Merry Christmas" has already "been said many times, many ways." Diana Krall's Christmas Songs is a worthy--though not particularly unique--addition to the holiday catalog. On it, she excels with an approach mastered long ago: elegant delivery that gives extra polish to a very familiar lineup. Some might find her style frosty at times, but that will come as a relief to those who want their carolers to cut through some of the holiday treacle and create a festive, yet grown-up vibe. And Krall does show off her playful side with little, personal touches. In "Winter Wonderland" she promises to "frolic and play the Canadian way," which should draw smiles from her native land. (That'll mean toasting the holiday with Molson, eh?) Elsewhere, she ends "Jingle Bells" with the girlishly giddy statement, "I'm just crazy about horses." Well…can't argue with that. --Leah Weathersby
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 1, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000B7BRMM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,199 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Lund on November 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Various Holiday-themed Diana Krall tracks have popped up over the years, but CHRISTMAS SONGS is her first full-length Christmas album. In recent years Diana has not rested on her laurels, musically-speaking. Some such as myself have thought highly of her later albums, while others missed her earlier forays into pop/jazz standards.

CHRISTMAS SONGS should appeal to those on both sides of the fence, and will likely reach out to many newcomers as well. The sense of effervescent, swinging fun that marked portions of her earlier albums is back on a number of tracks ("Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Jingle Bells," etc.). Meanwhile, those of us who feel she's emotively-deepened as a vocalist in the last few years will find ample evidence of that too, particularly on the ballads ("I'll Be Home For Christmas," "White Christmas," etc.). Diana's accompiament also tries something new (for her): there's a tasty, compatible big-band on many tracks (courtesy of the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra). In addition, several ballads have string-dominated orchestrations (somewhat similar to those on THE LOOK OF LOVE).

Quite unusual for contemporary holiday albums is the lack of any attempts to write a new classic; there are no Krall-penned tunes here. Most of the songs are among the holiday season's most oft-heard classics, but Diana's voice brings a fresh touch to them. At times she effectively breaks out into scatting, and frequently tweaks the melodies to just the right extent as one would expect of a jazz singer. Of course, her piano moves into the foreground at times as well. Most if not all fans of Diana's late-1990s albums will be satisfied with this album from beginning to end, as will many who favor the recent discs. It's safe to say that CHRISTMAS SONGS will prove to stand the test of time and become a classic seasonal album.
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Format: Audio CD
Diana Krall can't win. Among jazz snobs she's criticized more for her cool blond looks than her musicianship, and now jazz ideologues deprecate her work because she released a Christmas album. But her stunning beauty aside, if you were blind and an honest critic you'd be charmed and intrigued by her distinctive time signatures and in love with her voice. Diana Krall's musicianship and vocal styling just gets better with each successive release, and this album is no exception.

As far as the diminution of her seriousness as a jazz artist because of releasing a Christmas album, here follows a partial list of jazz greats who have done the same thing: Nat Cole, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. Those aren't good enough for you? Too "pop stylist" and not enough "jazz purist?" Okay, try on this list of jazz god-artists who also have released Christmas songs: Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, Louis Armstrong, Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, Bill Evans, and yes (jazz ultra-snobs begin eating ordure now) even John Coultrane ("Greensleeves").

And so Verve wisely got Krall to pick the most overdone of Christmas songs that have been covered to death by thousands of others and see what she could do. The answer is that this album is excellent, brilliant, harmless, and fun that only a Jazz Grinch couldn't love. Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall's production is stunning, and John Clayton's arrangements and the Clayton/Hamilton orchestra's execution is flawless.

You'd think it would be hard to make "Jingle Bells" sound new, but Krall succeeds and makes a song I hate enjoyable.
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Format: Audio CD
Diana Krall's first full length Christmas collection is another typical posh and elegant recording from the great jazz vocalist. Backed by the marvelous Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, Ms. Krall offers up twelve well-crafted, immaculately arranged and produced songs. The arrangements stick to the traditional but Ms. Krall's smoky vocals set the right mood for a romantic holiday party or dinner. Serve up the eggnog and let it snow.
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Format: Audio CD
First things first: Diana K's voice is what is featured here; her piano playing is practically non-existent. Instead, she is backed by the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Longtime fans of Krall will recognize those two names as probably her favorite sidemen (John Clayton, bass, and Jeff Hamilton, drums). Her other sideman fixture, guitarist Anthony Wilson, is also in the band.

The spotlight, however, is focused on Krall's voice -- the band definitely plays backup. The "C/H Jazz Orch" is a great band, and can (and sometimes does) really swing, but on this CD, they aren't given much of a chance. The majority of the songs are Krall's trademark "sultry slow ballads", with a few fun exceptions. The biggest surprise is the inclusion of "Christmas Time is Here", which will make most listeners think of the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon -- only here, it gets a proper grown-up rendition instead of the children's choir used in the show. That tune alone is almost worth the price of the CD.

I am a *huge* fan of Krall, but this CD just doesn't do it for me. I think the main reason is that her piano playing adds so much to her performances, and when it's missing, it leaves a big hole. Also, since she's singing for virtually the whole 44 minutes (including a touch of scat), the record has a "sameness" that doesn't happen in the rest of her recordings, where she, of course, not only takes several solo choruses on the piano, but is very liberal in handing out solos to her sidemen (esp. Wilson).

If you're looking for Diana singing all the Christmas standards with a lush big band (violins and all), then this will hit the spot.
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