Al di Meola's first so-called Christmas album is a relaxed, flowing, intensely musical affair that jazzers, world music buffs, and new agers will feel equally comfortable with. Mostly, he steers away from the often-cracked chestnuts, composing several nice tunes of his own ("Zima," the leadoff cut, is especially inviting), playing acoustic guitar and a battery of percussion instruments and keyboards in a graceful one-man band, thanks to multi-track tape. Other tracks feature duets between di Meola (with overdubbed additional instruments) and Roman Hrynkiv, who plays a Ukrainian zither-like instrument called the bandura. For the die-hard consumer who must have those carols, there are intricate renditions of "The First Noel," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "Carol of the Bells."
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell