23 December 2007


Swingin' holiday classics

CJ2 at Flickr.comIf you're still looking for some good Christmas music for the 24th or 25th, I recommend the new Colin James album Christmas, made with his Little Big Band. (It may only be available in Canada for now.)

Colin lives here in Vancouver, and his sometime bassist Doug Elliott also plays with my band, but that's not why I recommend it. Christmas is the latest in a long series of Little Big Band projects stretching back to 1992, and Colin has a deft way with the jump-blues guitar-horns-organ format, which he revived long before Brian Setzer.

What that means is this album, though it contains both traditional chestnuts ("I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Let It Snow," "Baybe It's Cold Outside") and some swingin' alternatives ("Cool Yule," "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," the gospel-style "Go Where I Send Thee"), is remarkably refreshing in the sea of sappy-sweet versions you hear this time of year. Colin swings and shimmies and leaves a smile on your face. If that sounds up your alley, pick it up.

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I can't say enough about Sufjan Stevens's Christmas albums. They're terrific, and provide some refreshing takes on familiar songs.
I heard some of it at a Christmas party. Liked it too. Merry Christmas Eve Derek!