Release Date:
September 23, 2008

Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Ware

Here's a holiday CD for people who want their jazz and Christmas too.'  And although the track list contains one original track and ten very familiar Christmas tunes, they are all done with a twist only Spyro Gyra can bring.  So if you like your smooth jazz not so smooth, and you like to put those holiday CDs on and enjoy the season with music, then A Night Before Christmas is for you.

The CD starts out with a gentle, reflective take on "O Tannenbaum" and then moves to the album’s only orginial track, "It Won’t Fell Like Christmas" sung by Christine Ebersole.  It’s a pleasant enough song done in the style of "Baby It’s Cold Outside" and "Please Come Home For Christmas" without quite reaching that status.   A nice take on "Winter Wonderland" is next, followed by a version of "Christmas Time is Here" that would make Vince Guarauldi smile.  A very nice segue leads into "Baby It’s Cold Outside" featuring Janis Siegel and Bonny B. on vocals.  "Carol of the Bells” combines this traditional tune with another traditional tune, "Greensleeves," with some Spyro improve thrown in.

One of my personal favorites on this CD is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" – although it’s been played many times, many ways… this is a good one.  Spyro moves on from there to two traditional Christmas Carols, “The First Noel” – with some really nice moments courtesy of Julio Fernandez on acoustic guitar; and “Silent Night” – a song that is so good in and of itself that I’ve never heard a bad version of it.  Spyro closed the album with really fun takes on “This Christmas” and “The Christmas Song”.

So give yourself and early Christmas present this year and stick A Night Before Christmas in your Christmas CD rotation.