Icon: Christmas

Ella Fitzgerald

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Icon: Christmas Review

by Mark Deming

Ella Fitzgerald was, with the exception of Billie Holiday, the best and most influential vocalist in the history of jazz, a singer whose gift for scatting made her one of the music's most powerful and engaging soloists, and a peerless interpreter of the American songbook. While Fitzgerald was first and foremost a jazz artist, there were few types of music she wasn't willing to try, and in the '60s she cut a pair of well-received Christmas albums, 1960's Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas and 1967's Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas. Icon: Christmas is an 11-song collection drawn from Fitzgerald's classic Yuletide albums, with the arrangements ranging from playful takes on "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" to a languid version of "The Christmas Song" and reverent interpretations of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Jazz fans will enjoy hearing one of the music's greatest voices work her magic with these Christmas classics, and the range of material offers something for all who celebrate the holiday.

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