Thursday, January 05, 2006

Jimmy McGriff - Christmas With

Found this CD over at Amazon in their used section!

A few years ago, I used to moderate the "Strange Records Collecting" group over at Yahoo. If you happen to click on the link, you'll find this original album cover on its home page. For some strange reason, I wasn't able to pull it down after Christmas 2003 so it remained!

I first became aware of Jimmy McGriff on the 1996 Capitol Records release of "Christmas Cocktails" in which his renditions of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "White Christmas" were fused together as one track.

He then appeared on the 1997 followup "Christmas Cocktails II". This time, his version of "Jingle Bells" was paired up with Caiola & Ortolani's "Sleigh Ride" and made for a fun track.

So when a FULL copy of this album came around, I jumped at the chance to hear the whole album!

This album contains only eight tracks (just eight tracks? - disappointing at first) but you'll never hear the Hammond B-3 wail any better than McGriff plays it. His versions of "Winter Wonderland" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" are epics - several listenings of these tracks are required. The other tunes are fantastic, especially "Hip Santa" and "Christmas McGriff" are fantastic jazz tunes with Christmas as a minor theme!

NOTE: McGriff's close friend and mentor was Jimmy Smith. His influence can be heard through this album and Smith's "Christmas '64" will be reviewed here soon too!

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...



Stephen said...

Thanks, Captain. I've had my eye on this one, so after your review, I'll have to pick it up.

CaptainOT said...

McGriff's version of "Winter Wonderland" lasts over 5 minutes! The pace is soooo slow that if you're not listening close enough, you'll miss the melody completely!

You can bet this one's gonna get some boombox time around the holiday season!


Ernie said...

Hey Cap'n! I found an LP copy of this one, but it's got a different cover, and it's on the Trip label. I assume it's not the original, but it's got all the same tracks. Any clue when this one came out? The cover image is a cute black girl with a big afro wearing a Santa suit. Any ideas?

Ernie said...

I guess I can answer my own question now. I later found a Mistletoe Records version of the LP, and it's got the same cover, and, more telling, the same parent company as the mysterious Trip Records. So I've just got yet another budget reissue. But I recorded it anyway. :)

CaptainOT said...

Ernie - I knew about the alternate cover aiming for a different demographic but wasn't sure of the record companies. I would LOVE to see a JPEG of the album cover!

Was listening to this CD shortly after I learned of McGriff's death earlier this year - still amazing stuff.