Jazz Dispensary - Holiday Treats
This various artists compilation from Concord Music is a holiday treat indeed in more ways than one. It's a vinyl set pressed on candy red vinyl (limited edition) that's packed with some of the coolest Christmas cuts you've ever heard, like the trippy nearly nine-minute groove "Prince of Peace" from Pharoah Sanders, Electric Jungle's "Funky Funky Christmas" and the Jive Turkey's instrumental "Get Down Santa" which incorporates snippets of holiday favorites into a funky yuletide jam. Rotary Connection, Rufus Thomas, Kenny Burrell, Booker T. & the MGs and Juan Torres are some of the other contributors to this collectible Christmas platter.
Putumayo Presents Latin Christmas
This cheery set begins with Nossa Bossa Nova's version of "Joy to the World" that's sung in Portuguese and Erica Gonzaba sings "Blanca Navidad," a sublime Spanish language version of the chestnut "White Christmas;" other familiar songs like "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by trumpeter Bobby Rodriguez and "Jingle Bells" by Colombian guitarist Juan Carlos Quintero are performed as instrumentals. Other contributors include Poncho Sanchez, La Super Banda, Roman Street and Grupo Son Sabor, and in consideration of all the Latin spice found here Putumayo has thoughtfully included the recipe for the Puerto Rican Christmastime cocktail the Coquito in the CD booklet.
Maxwell/Miranda/Parsley - Catskill Christmas
Take a break from "Jingle Bells" and the rest of the holiday chestnuts with this all-original offering from Chris Maxwell, Holly Miranda and Ambrosia Parsley. The effort is populated with bright tunes like the bouncy sing-along "Going to Get the Tree," the amusing "Too Many Santas" with Maxwell on lead vocals, the lighthearted skewing of commercialized Christmas that is "Christmas Aisle" and the randy (and once again amusing) "Naughty Elf." Good fun here; St. Nick surely approves.
Bon Qui Qui - Merry Hoodmas
Here's some slightly irreverent holiday fun from hip-hop star and comedian Anjelah Johnson recording as her MADTV character Bon Qui Qui. The effort is just a four-song EP, highlighted by a skewed version of "Joy to the World" where Bon Qui Qui is the reason for the season and a version of "Deck the Halls" that turns into "Deck the Ho's" with a tongue-in-cheek look at the madness of holiday shopping, including the inevitable receiving of "whack" presents and the need to keep the receipt for the also inevitable return. Johnson is goofy lyrically here but the beats and her vocals are just fine; certainly here's one holiday gift that won't be returned.