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Tasty holiday jazz treats

Christmas Songs
Christmas Songs
By various artists

Milestone / Fantasy Records: 1993

This review first appeared in the November 30, 1993 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Fantasy Records' Milestone jazz subsidiary has put out a dynamite collection of seasonal material by some of the music's brightest stars. Drawn from a variety of sources, the material ranges from Chet Baker's 1953 instrumental version of "Winter Wonderland" to Anita O'Day's brand-new recording of "The Christmas Waltz." Another treat is the late Curtis Peagler's "I'll Be Home for Christmas," recorded shortly before his death. (Jeannie Cheatham, in whose band Peagler played alto saxophone, said this was probably the last session Peagler ever recorded under his own name.)

Also featured are Joe Pass, Hank Crawford, Coleman Hawkins, Ruth Brown and the Red Garland Trio. It's great stuff and, if more jazz than traditional Christmas, provides a welcome break from the sometimes suffocating sweetness of Christmas music.