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Simply Christmas

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Album Review

Simply Christmas is the first holiday album from show biz triple threat Leslie Odom, Jr. It appears just three months after the S-Curve release of his reworked solo debut, Leslie Odom, Jr., which in turn arrived a year after the TV actor, singer, and stage performer originated the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway smash Hamilton: An American Musical. Though fans of the chart-topping cast album certainly aren't excluded here, Simply Christmas should especially please admirers of his jazz-styled eponymous album, as he presents similarly elegant versions of seasonal favorites ranging from Schubert's "Ave Maria" to 2008's "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Arranged mainly for piano throughout, with bass, drums, acoustic guitar, and rare keyboards and trombone, it's got small dinner parties and nostalgic winter evenings in front of the fireplace in mind. He and his accompaniment manage to make moving renditions of overplayed tunes such as "The First Noel." They do so with restrained performances that showcase the singer's interpretive ability, which honors a consistently wistful tone over grandstanding. Even knowledgeable jazz audiences needn't wince at seeing "My Favorite Things" on the track list; Odom's refined take on the oft-covered show tune-turned-jazz standard features a piano solo by Tommy King that's the most vibrant moment in a rendition that simmers with longing. Later, a light touch by vocals, bass, and acoustic guitar makes for an equally poignant version of the Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling." On record saying that he made Simply Christmas after getting requests for a Christmas album "a few times a week," Odom may need to brace himself for ongoing harassment after this exquisite set.

Customer Reviews

Leslie+Christmas = Amazing

Leslie is one of the most talented vocalists of our generation and Christmas is the best time of year, the two together are incredible!

Like A Soft, Warm Christmas Blanket

Tony Award-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. graces us with 'Simply Christmas', one of the best Christmas albums to be released in recent history. With a rich and beautifully-controlled voice, Leslie is joined with only a few musicians on each song to create an album that's like a soft, warm blanket on a cold winter's night from beginning to end. Many artists too often are tempted to reinvent and overproduce traditional Christmas songs. As a result, they just end up losing the essence that made them classics in the first place. That's not the case here. Leslie and company capture that holiday magic by keeping it simple. Highly recommended, 'Simply Christmas' is a beautiful soundtrack for Christmas memories this year and all the years to come. ~🎄Happy Holidays to you and yours! 🎶

This will melt a Grinch's heart

I'm usually a big Grinch about seeing and hearing the trappings of Christmas before mid-December. But this dude's voice is so lovely and his renditions of these classics so perfect, I will have this album on heavy rotation starting today. Thanks, Mr Odom-- I needed this!!


Born: August 6, 1981 in Queens, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s

Triple-threat Leslie Odom, Jr. is a Tony Award-winning performer best known for his roles in the TV series Smash and the original cast of Broadway's Hamilton. He's also a charting solo recording artist. Born in 1981 in Queens, New York, Odom was raised in Philadelphia. A lifelong performer, he made his Broadway debut as a replacement in Rent at the age of 17. He went on to study drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and relocated to Los Angeles after graduating in 2003. It wasn't long...
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Simply Christmas, Leslie Odom, Jr.
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Customer Ratings