There's a certain sameness to many Christmas CDs because so many artists focus on a relatively small group of carols and standards of the season, but that isn't the case with Hooray for Christmas! Pianist John Sheridan formed his Dream Band after leaving his work as a sideman with Jim Cullum's Jazz Band, and he recruited one of his favorite singers, Rebecca Kilgore (who is a regular guest on his CDs), for this project, while he has shared the stage with many of the musicians at various jazz parties, including cornetists Randy Reinhart and Warren Vaché, trombonist Dan Barrett, and clarinetists Dan Block and Ron Hockett, among others. The upbeat "Hooray for Christmas!" was penned by Don Sebesky and it serves as a perfect opener, showcasing Kilgore's warm vocals. The forgotten gem "Pocketful of Miracles" features a delightful trombone conversation between Barrett and Russ Phillips. Guitarist Eddie Erickson is the featured vocalist in the witty "Christmas Blues," while Kilgore is on hand for Dave Frishberg's bittersweet "The Difficult Season." Kilgore's romantic touch is evident in her lovely interpretation of "I Know Why and So Do You." The swinging "Cool Yule" was penned by the prolific pianist/composer/author/television star Steve Allen, with Kilgore's snappy vocal backed by the swinging horn section. Sheridan wrote the lovely, touching ballad "Christmas Will Be a Little Lonely This Year," backing Kilgore's sensitive vocal with elegant piano and Vaché adding a touching muted solo, as the remainder of the band sits this one out. This is one Christmas CD that will stand the test of time without growing stale.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden