Vocalist Greta Matassa and bassist Clipper Anderson set out to make a Christmas CD that would stand out from the pack and they succeeded with And to All a Good Night
. Bypassing most of the tradition's expected favorites, they drew little-known or forgotten songs from films, pop, and jazz, infusing them with thoughtful arrangements. Matassa begins with a warm setting of "A Christmas Love Song" (music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman), with Darin Clendenin's lush piano providing the heart of the backdrop. She does a swinging job in the bright setting of the familiar "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," buoyed by the spirited rhythm section. Matassa is extremely effective with her interpretation of the bittersweet "Christmas Day," which Burt Bacharach penned for his hit 1960s musical Promises, Promises. Matassa sits out the nostalgic "The First Snowfall," with Anderson taking the vocal duties, showcasing the rhythm section alone. He also sings Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," which is rarely associated with Christmas recordings, though it appeared in the Christmas-themed film Holiday Inn. "November in the Snow," with music by pianist Bill Mays and vocalist Mark Murphy, is delightfully cast in a quintet that blends elements of George Shearing's quintet and accordionist Art Van Damme's groups. The two singers share the spotlight in the touching medley of "Every Christmas Eve" and "Giving (Santa's Theme)." All in all, this is a rewarding Christmas CD.