Magazine article Ebony

Sounding Off: The Best in Recorded Music

Magazine article Ebony

Sounding Off: The Best in Recorded Music

Article excerpt

NAT King Cole's The Christmas Song (Columbia) has been a holiday favorite since its 1963 release. The title song, written by Mel Torme and introduced by Cole in 1996, is among the most popular Christmas songs of all time. Cole's magical voice seems perfect for these holiday favorites, which he sings with exquisite enunciation and verve. Among them are the gay "Deck The Hall," the jubilant "Joy To The World," Germany's favorite "O Tannenbaum," and the well-loved "O, Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Silent Night." On "O Holy Night," as with several other selections, the revered, legendary entertainer is backed by a 20-voice chorus and a string orchestra.

For more than three decades, the Jackson 5 Christmas Album (Motown) has been a yoletide favorite. Recorded when the famous siblings were children, the recording radiates with youthful enthusiasm as the brothers perform classics such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town," "The Christmas Song," "Frosty The Snowman" and other selections. Michael is angelic on "The Little Drummer Boy" and adorable on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." This classic recording will bring cheer to adults and kids of all ages.

Grover Washington Jr. puts listeners in the mood with his mellow new recording, Breath of Heaven (Columbia). Washington's saxophone (alto in this case) is superbly soothing on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," as it is on "Away In A Manger" (soprano sax), and the 10 other selections. Lisa Fischer delivers beautiful vocals on the title song, on which Washington performs on his soprano sax. …

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