Diana Krall

Christmas Songs

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On her first full-length Christmas album, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a smoky, sophisticated, and slightly melancholy album perfectly suited to accompany egg nog cocktails and romantic afterglow holiday affairs. Although there isn't anything unexpected on Christmas Songs -- Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" is as close to obscure as it gets -- Krall coos life into such standards as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas." It also doesn't hurt that she gains top-notch support from the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, whose urbane arrangements help bring to mind similar works by such iconic vocalists as Nat King Cole, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra. But it's not all deep sighs and bedroom eyes; on the contrary, Krall keeps things swinging with such uptempo numbers as the joyous "Jingle Bells," "Winter Wonderland," and the Blossom Dearie-inflected "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." If you like your holiday albums cool and classy, Christmas Songs is a stocking stuffer that's sure to please.

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