The content of Christmas with the Jazz Legends, Vol. 2 indicates that the compilation producer isn't particularly knowledgeable about jazz. What Lone Hill Jazz does best is reissuing long unavailable, valuable jazz sessions in their entirety. While this collection of holiday songs does feature a number of timeless jazz artists, many of the vocals are drenched in syrupy strings and dated choirs. There are worthwhile tracks. Billie Holiday makes "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" into a plausible Christmas song, though it was not recorded with that in mind. Kenny Burrell's rendition of "White Christmas" radiates warmth. Maynard Ferguson dashes through the snow with lots of Christmas cheer in "Jingle Bells," while Stan Kenton manages to avoid the predictable paths in his scoring of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The lively big-band setting of "Christmas in New Orleans" features the matchless Louis Armstrong. The vocals are a mixed bag, due to the forgettable, decidedly '50s easy listening arrangements. Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole can't be expected to swing while being dragged by these awful charts. Bluesman Charles Brown and pop vocalist Harry Belafonte have no business on a jazz release, but the presence of Bobby Helms' annoying, forgettable "Jingle Bell Rock" is inexcusable. This slapdash anthology was obviously put together with little thought. With so many better Christmas jazz CDs available, no one is likely to put this dud on their Christmas wish list.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden