Finally, a Christmas album worth listening to. Colin James, along with the Little Big Band, has found the perfect mix of standards and lesser-known tunes and wrapped them in his own jazzy package.
One example, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, probably isn’t a staple in most round-the-tree singalongs, but it’s still a great swing number that’s been covered by everyone from Brian Setzer to Lionel Hampton. James’s version doesn’t deviate much, but it’s still a fun track to hear.
Christmas Island is one of the better numbers. Its lap steel solo, delicate surf guitar and smooth vocals make this holiday tune easy to stomach. Even classics like Let It Snow are altered just enough to not sound cheesy while still retaining their familiar feel.
Colin James & the Little Big Band hit Massey Hall Thursday and Friday (December 20 and 21).