Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tony Bennett (featuring The Count Basie Orchestra) - A Swingin' Christmas

With eight days left before Christmas, I wanted to spend today looking at several new Christmas albums on the shelves this season - perhaps a last minute gift guide for those who love Christmas music.

We start with Tony Bennett's new Christmas album with the Count Basie Orchestra.

"Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album" is required for any Christmas music enthusiast's collection (novice to expert). I purchased this album at the beginning of the 2008 Christmas season and after much, MUCH airplay on my CD boombox, I'm convinced this one should be mandatory as well.

New swingin' renditions with the Basie sound of "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" are definite highlights. The duet between father and daughter (Antonia Bennett) on "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" is fun, bouncy, and full of warmth - no surprise there.

Even at the tender age of 82, Tony's voice has no problems with the slower ballads like "Silver Bells", Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here", and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

This brings us to the best track on the CD - "O Christmas Tree". One solo piano and a solo legendary voice. It's stirring, moving, and conveys more Christmas feeling in 3:27 than most artists do in an entire CD.

For the record, I don't consider "My Favorite Things" a Christmas song but as I'm getting older, I'm learning to appreciate it more during this time of year.

It's doesn't hurt that Tony's version swings either...



Stormy said...

I completely agree with you about "My Favorite Things". It is not a Christmas song and it always makes me wince hearing it on Christmas albums. I first encountered "My Favorite Things" presented as a Christmas song on the True Value Happy Holidays Vol. III album over 40 years ago (sung by Florence Henderson) and I thought someone had made a mistake. I still think so.

hmcnally said...

"Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles" + a competent artist (e.g., Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, The Supremes) = Xmas song. Lighten up, Francis. Beats the crap out of what is produced today as "Holiday Music."

Tony's rendition rocks, btw.

CaptainOT said...

Uh-oh... the debate over "My Favorite Things" rages on...

Who's Francis?


P-E Fronning said...

Hahaha! I remembered that you didn't consider it to be a Christmas song so I mixed it in this year too... Which version? Tony Bennett's.
And yes, it does swing! Whether or not it's a Christmas song I'll leave to you Americans to debate. :)

Says wikipedia: "The wintertime imagery of some of the lyrics has made "My Favorite Things" a popular song during the Christmas season, and it often appears on holiday-themed albums and compilations, although in the show and movie it is sung during a summer thunderstorm."


CaptainOT said...

P-E Fronning - I always ask "what does raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens have to do with Christmas?"