So solid, so sweet! The Jazz Spirit of Christmas is classic jazz, through and through! This generous album (well over an hour of music!) will satisfy your every jazz need this holiday season.
The dynamic Les DeMerle (drums, vocals) is the moving force behind this project; his wife Bonnie Eisele (vocals, percussion) has been his sizzlin' musical partner for 17 years. The other three ensemble members are Ken Poplowski (tenor sax & clarinet), Thomas Snow (piano), and Bill McCrossen (bass). Snow is an old friend, musically speaking; his lovely holiday album is also reviewed on this site (see our review).
The Jazz Spirit of Christmas absolutely cooks on so many levels! First, every aspect of this CD exudes professionalism. The vocals (by lovin' spouses Eisele and DeMerle) are technically crisp, yet warmly heartfelt. The instrumentation is also top notch. Second, the song selection is broad and gratifying--jazzy gem favorites abound. Third, there is an excellent range of jazzy stylings encompassed here, everything from the sassily sexy ("Santa Baby" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside") to the gently elegant ("Christmas Song" and "Snowfall") to up-tempo, high-flyin', downright smokin' instrumentals ("Sleigh Ride" and "Little Bebop Drummer Boy"). There's even some brilliant Brazilian samba going on ("White Christmas" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas," the latter sung partly in Portuguese!). Even the liner notes are comprehensive!
Those who are jazz-inclined will love this CD. The best moments here include the very special "The Christmas Song"; Tom Snow's arrangement provides a poetic intro, and Eisele's vocals are especially fine. DeMerle does a very impressive Louis Armstrong-type turn with his singing in the Bourbon Street offerings of "Merry Christmas, Baby" and "Santa Claus Is Near." "Sleigh Ride" is a jazzy instrumental explosion with great clarinet riffs and a fun clarinet/drums duet. Honestly, every cut is a diamond--no lumps of coal in this stocking!