We all know about Martha Stewart, and we all have varied opinions about her and everything associated with her. So, when you see a Holiday Jazz compilation with her on the cover, the first thing that may come to mind or mouth is a cunning, sarcastic, comment. But before you insert your foot into your mouth, flip over the disc and check out the tracks. It's actually outstanding!
It starts out with contemporary jazz trumpeter Chris Botti giving his rendition of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" followed by Tony Bennett and his voice singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Next up is Tuck Andress and his guitar stylings on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" followed by Wynton Marsalis and his group playing little figures behind Wynton's narration of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." The next track is a real treat. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra plays a piece called "Sugar Rum Cherry," which is actually Ellington's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from his Nutcracker Suite, and it competes for the best track on the disc. Terence Blanchard follows with "O Come All Ye Faithful" before Grover Washington Jr. presents his classical version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Steve Tyrell (Father of the Bride) takes us back with "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and then we turn back the clock even further with Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra presenting their chart of Claude Thornhill's theme "Snowfall." Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea present a duet version of "Deck the Halls" and Dexter Gordon manages to dig within the deepest heartstrings of anyone on earth with his version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" before Russell Malone delivers a terrific version of "O Christmas Tree." Peggy Lee sings "Winter Weather" alongside the Benny Goodman Orchestra, and Louis Prima sings "Shake Hands With Santa Claus" before Earth Kitt delivers her sassy take on "Santa Baby." Finally, Satchmo takes us home with "Winter Wonderland." How could anyone not love Louis Armstrong?
Surprising is the only word that comes to mind. Who would have guessed that a Martha Stewart Holiday Jazz collection could be full of such great jazz? Trust me, this one you'll be spinning over and over and over again during the Holidays for family gatherings, parties, at work, or even in your car. This is the best surprise Christmas gift that Martha Stewart could have ever given...and that's a good thing!