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The Jazz Spirit of Christmas

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Album Review

Presumably taking advantage of some time off while touring, Les DeMerle joins up with a small group for a jazz Christmas album. It's nightclub fare in general, with steady instrumental work from the crew and some solid vocals from Bonnie Eisele, DeMerle's wife. Ken Peplowski takes some very nice, classic post-bop solos from time to time, playing off of DeMerle's drums perfectly, and bassist Bill McCrossen, though staying in the back for the majority of the album, keeps up a lilting bassline with forays into adventure on occasion. The treat here is the array of new arrangements of classics courtesy of DeMerle and pianist Thomas Snow. The group alternately takes a bluesy angle, a basic post-bop angle, or light Brazilian ideas in their approaches to the various songs, coming up with a mix of standard interpretations (Eisele's re-creation of the Eartha Kitt "Santa Baby," or the cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside") and interesting twists (a bossa nova "White Christmas," the driving "Little Drummer Boy"). It might not stay in rotation long after Christmas, but it's sure to come back in subsequent years.

The Jazz Spirit of Christmas, The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band
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