Various Artists

Making Spirits Bright

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A host of contemporary jazz stars fills this excellent compilation of traditional holiday music with smooth jazz inflections; jazzy vocals; and dashes of funk, R&B, and world music. Making Spirits Bright features such stellar jazz artists as Lee Ritenour opening with a beautiful smooth jazz version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Diana Krall singing a swinging version of "Jingle Bells," and Gerald Albright out front on saxophone playing a funky but melodic version of "This Christmas." Marc Antoine's guitar is reflective and speaks softly on "What Child Is This?" Dave Grusin's lively "Suite de Nuestra Navidad" closes the program, adding a diverse mix to the music with its happy, lively, Latin flavors. His piano softly underscores a beautiful flute solo and lends the perfect spirit of the holidays -- peace, love, and goodwill. Making Spirits Bright is highly listenable and even more enjoyable because of its up-to-date 21st century versions of some of the world's favorite holiday music.

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