Sounding Off

Article excerpt

GOSPEL diva YOLANDA ADAMS kicks off the holiday season with an uplifting recording, Christmas with Yolanda Adams (Elektra), which showcases her diversity as a vocalist and performer. Her "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The First Noel" are jazzy and breezy, while "Little Drummer Boy" is buoyant and "The Christmas Song" is simply beautiful. She calls on her gospel roots for "Silent Night" and "Born This Day," for which she is backed by the West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. Choir. Her voice is crystalline throughout the set, especially on "What Child Is This" and "0 Holy Night."

JEFF MAJORS is back with his wonderful Christmas recording, Sacred Holidays (NAS/Music One), on which he delivers soothing Christmas rhythms accentuated with his classical harp artistry and excellent orchestration. Among the selections are the exceptionally beautiful, original "Pretty Little Baby," "Little Drummer Boy," "Silent Night," "The First Noel" and a soulful "Don't Cry This Christmas," featuring Walter Sigler. The title song, "Sacred Holidays," offers a fitting benediction. The state of "cool" is epitomized and glorified on GEORGE DUKE'S new recording, which happens to be titled Cool (Warner Brothers). This is yet another showcase for the prolific, supertalented music maestro who is keyboardist, arranger, vocalist, composer and musical director. Among the artists featured are Chante Moore on "She's Amazing," Philip Bailey and Howard Hewett on the rhythmic "Marin City," Anointed on "Never Be Another," Kim Johnson on "Ancient Source," and Flora Purim on "If You Will. …