Various Artists

Christmas Jazz Greats

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AllMusic Review by

This unassuming collection doesn't try to do too much aside from presenting Christmas classics done up in light, contemporary jazz styles, which may be why it actually works, giving off a kind of casual, natural joy without ever feeling like an exercise in purposeful deconstruction. The classic melodies of these well tested holiday standards are always clearly visible in their new jazz clothes here, yet they somehow seem shined up and fresh as well. Mark Shane gives "Silent Night" a lightly funky little piano rhythm as a backdrop, while Wycliffe Gordon puts a second-line spin on "Jingle Bells" and the Sackville All Stars turn in a gently loping version of "We Three Kings." Again, nothing is too startling, but there are enough little twists and turns here to lift this set above the generic.

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