This is a late, late, late in the season review of a new Christmas album this year, but it is never too late to review such beautiful Christmas music.
Jillaine, our favorite jazz singer here at Merry and Bright, released "Jazzy Christmas To You II" in 2012, only one year after "Jazzy Christmas To You", her debut collection of Christmas songs. "Jazzy II" picks up right where its predecessor left off, giving us another amazing album of both secular and spiritual songs for the season.
The album kicks off with a rousing, bluesy rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas". It’s a unique interpretation of the song, with a sassy soulfulness made memorable by Jillaine and her superb band. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" follows, with Jillaine in a duet with James Archibald. It is another entertaining, original take on an old classic, with a little honky-tonk piano break by Zach Wiggins that gives the song a little extra kick.
With "Last Christmas", Jillaine achieves the nearly-impossible: performing a version of the song that I really like :-) Key to the success is the stripped-down accompaniment of Craig Adler's acoustic guitar and Linda Chaston on synth, along with Jillaine’s restrained vocals. Taking this song that is usually over orchestrated and turning it into a more subtle performance gives it an introspective, melancholy quality that I’ve never heard before.
The spiritual selections – "I Wonder As I Wander", "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night" are beautiful. Jillaine dials back the jazzy and performs these with tremendous strength and reverence. "Emmanuel", especially, is a moving performance, full of true, heartfelt Christmas spirit.
Sass and swagger abound in "I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", "Dig That Crazy Santa Claus" and especially "Santa Blues", co-written by Jillaine and Justin Jensen. Jillaine struts though these songs, bending the notes to suit, having a blast with her band..
"Jazzy Christmas To You II" is another beautiful record. Jillaine gives us a variety of styles, selections, and fresh, original arrangements, nailing them all. The musicians accompanying her are tops, cats, and the bee's knees.
If Rudolph's nose isn't glowing yet, it will when he hears "Jazzy Christmas To You II"!
Man, I can't wait for Jazzy III....
Also on iTunes, etc
Buy this record! :-)