Allen & Allen

Christmas Like Never Before

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This duo is both known and respected for their contemporary gospel work, so one might think Christmas Like Never Before would be a welcome addition to the canon of classic holiday releases. Then again, one might be wrong. The album's gospel-influenced, R&B/jazz/funk takes on holiday standards are at least a bit different from usual Christmastime fare. But the mostly-instrumental numbers are heavy on cheezy schmaltziness and light on improvisation, leaving these tunes blander than uncooked oatmeal. If you're a huge fan of the aforementioned genres, the album is (just barely) worth a listen, but anyone else will be put to sleep by Allen & Allen's generic, quiet stormy soloing styles.

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