A Joyful Holiday - EP

A Joyful Holiday - EP

Samara Joy adds her name to a long list of musicians who have taken on the Christmas songbook. Working with many of the same musicians who helped create her Grammy-winning 2022 tour de force Linger Awhile, Joy doubles down on that magic and adds in a dash of holiday cheer. Joy takes Christmas classics and turns some into meditative gospel ballads, like on “O Holy Night,” which features soaring organ swells and multiple generations of Joy’s family joining her on backing vocals. Elsewhere, accompanied by Linger Awhile collaborators Pasquale Grasso (guitar), David Wong (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums), Joy translates songs into smoky soul jazz standards. Rather than settling into straightforward covers of the holiday songbook, Samara and her band bring an adventurous spirit to family favorites, like on “Warm in December,” which features a swinging drum groove and extended piano solo. Elsewhere, Joy and her band cover Stevie Wonder’s “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me,” giving the orchestral pop classic a subdued and refined jazz makeover. The album ends onstage, with Joy and vocalist Antonio McLendon dueting on a lounge jazz version of “The Christmas Song.”

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