A Swingin' Christmas (feat. The Count Basie Big Band)
Tony Bennett truly delivers on this incredible recording made some 40 years since his last Christmas album (1968’s Snowfall). With the late, great Count Basie’s big band in tow, this collection of carols is a beautifully panoramic sounding affair. Bennett sounds equally confident and comfortable here as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” opens with the swagger and aplomb of a black-tie event. Monty Alexander fills in for Basie on piano making the cool jam on “Silver Bells” sound relaxed and hip. The slower and cinematic sounding “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is easily the most gorgeous number here with a lush, full-stringed orchestra and a 25-second-long harmonica solo by acclaimed jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans. Bennett’s daughter Antonia shows up to duet with her father on an adorable version of Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” and the kinetic orchestrations of Frank Foster (one of Sinatra’s arrangers) really help bring this number to life. Bennett’s second album of Christmas carols is a grand Holiday party that’s as classy as it is swingin’.