Monday, December 25, 2017

Various Artists - 1997 "Yule Be Boppin'", Bluenote

This is one of the better Christmas jazz collections available. The 15 selections each utilize different artists and were recorded especially for this CD. Kurt Elling's version of Steve Allen's "Cool Yule," and Pat Martino's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," Javon Jackson's "Santa Baby," Bobby Watson and Jack Walrath on "Cristo Redentor," and Charlie Hunter's solo guitar version of "Christmas Time Is Here" are highlights. Other featured players include Dianne Reeves ("Jingle Bells"), Eliane Elias (romping on "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"), Bob Dorough (remaking "Blue X-Mas"), Fareed Haque, Sweet Daddy Lowe, Judi Silvano, Jacky Terrasson, Benny Green, Miles Griffith, Rachelle Ferrell and Joe Lovano. An excellent set of mostly offbeat versions of seasonal favorites.

For that hardened jazz boho on your list, this 15-piece slab serves up a lot of cool yule trimmings. There are goodies for baddies here, including Javon Jackson, who takes you on a drum-lead, saxophone-improv trip during "Santa Baby," exploring all the nooks and crannies of Santa's workshop. Bob Dorough reprises the cynical classic "Blue X-Mas" while Sweet Daddy Love and the Blue Note Ad Hoc Orchestra revisit that beatnik staple "Bebop Santa Claus." Other noteworthy tracks include Jacky Terrasson soulfully welding "Adeste Fideles" and "Little Drummer Boy" in a groovin' orgy of organ-chased gospel rhythms and sprite piano riffs. No hip set would be complete without "Zat You, Santa Claus?", here handled admirably by Benny Green and Miles Griffith (although no one can lay a finger on Louis Armstrong's version). Cool stuff, even for nonjazz stiffs.

A later Blue Note take on the Holiday sound – but one that features some surprisingly nice numbers by artists who were on the label's roster during the 90s! There's a spirit here that takes us back to older Holiday jazz albums – a feel that's never too slick or gimmicky, and which shows a genuine feel for the music without tricking it out too much. Titles include "Christmastime Is Here" by Charlie Hunter, "Peace On Earth" by Rachelle Ferrell, "Cristo Redentor" by Bobby Watson, "Carol Of The Bells" by Joe Lovano, "Blue X-Mas" by Bob Dorough, "Zat You Santa Claus" by Benny Green, "Santa Baby" by Javon Jackson, and "Cool Yule" by Kurt Elling. (Out of print.)

Track listing:

01 –Kurt Elling Cool Yule 3:27
02 –Pat Martino Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 4:27
03 –Dianne Reeves Jingle Bells 2:09
04 –Eliane Elias I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm 4:28
05 –Bob Dorough Blue X-mas 5:37
06 –Fareed Haque You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch 5:25
07 –Javon Jackson Santa Baby 4:19
08 –Sweet Daddy Lowe And The Blue Note Ad Hoc Orchestra Be-Bop Santa Claus 4:28
09 –Judi Silvano I'd Like You For Christmas 4:49
10 –Jacky Terrasson 'Adeste Fideles / Little Drummer Boy' Jam 3:27
11 –Benny Green featuring Miles Griffith Zat You Santa Claus 3:33
12 –Bobby Watson (2) / Jack Walrath Cristo Redentor 7:18
13 –Rachelle Ferrell Peace On Earth 4:19
14 –Charlie Hunter Christmas Time Is Here 4:04
15 –Joe Lovano Carol Of The Bells 4:35


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi, unfortunately the link has gone. Is there a possibility to upload it again? Many thanks!