With the passing of the last of the original stride piano masters during the 1970s and 1980s, Butch Thompson became one of the leading practitioners of the style. Thompson's stride interpretations of Christmas carols are rather refreshing, as he plays 17 holiday carols and gives them a new lease on life from the often mundane versions heard on most releases (whether jazz or any other form of music). "Silent Night" is bluesy, while "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is played straight up at first before he launches into a lively romp. "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" is more subtle with some beautiful improvising. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" sounds like it could have been played by Fats Waller; all that is missing are the late pianist's likely wisecracks. "Angels From the Realms of Glory" doesn't make it onto many Christmas releases, but Thompson's sensitive interpretation of this pretty hymn should turn some heads. As are all of Butch Thompson's releases for Daring, this CD is also highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden