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A raucous, good-hearted Christmas

Putumayo Presents A Jazz and Blues Christmas
Putumayo Presents A Jazz and Blues Christmas
By various artists

Putumayo: 2008

This review first appeared in Turbula in December 2008.

Any collection that features both B.B. King and Ray Charles can't go too far wrong, and if Putumayo's holiday release for 2008 has quite a few tracks by bands and artists you've never heard of, well, there's still B.B. singing "Christmas Celebration" and Charles doing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Ramsey Lewis and late Charles Brown are also represented here. And even if you've not heard of Randy Greer, Riff Ruffin or Topsy Chapman, their contributions are rock-solid and swinging.

The groove here definitely leans toward the blues side of the jazz-blues spectrum, even delving into a bit of R&B. It's a bit raucous at times, but in a good-hearted New Orleans kind of way.