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on 16 November 2005
Diana Krall has delivered an album full of classics. Christmas classics, that is. This album does pretty much exactly what it says on the box, yet it does it with a style and elegance that is not usually afforded to these types of projects. Diana's trademark jazzy style is present throughout this record and her interpretations of such greats as Jingle Bells, Let It Snow and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas transcend any 'novelty song' status and sound genuinely great. In fact, the record as a whole never slips into the purely novelty category, due to the wonderful arrangements, respect and enthusiasm Diana shows these classic songs. This will appeal to the hardcore Diana Krall fans yet it should also be received by a much larger audience. You simply won't find a classier, more appealing Christmas album this year.
Buy a copy and have yourself a merry little Christmas.
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on 9 December 2005
The elegant, silken voice and piano playing of Diana Krall have been with us now for ten years, so I suppose we were overdue this album of Christmas standards.
Long term fans like myself, who were a little uncomfortable with her last two studio albums, will be relieved to discover that she has banished both the over-lush orchestral arrangements and her husband's eclectic but tuneless involvement this time. Further than that, she has resisted the usual temptation to include any new or self-penned songs, so that the old chestnuts are allowed to roast nicely on their own.
Musical backing on seven of the songs, the more uptempo ones, comes from the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The sound they produce is just short of full big band jazz, and they give a smooth, rounded accompaniment to the likes of opener Jingle Bells, Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland. Diana's singing is polished and elegant as ever, but her ad-libs and occasional lapsing into scat mean that the shadows, if not the ghosts, of Ella, and Dino, and Sinatra fly a little too close for comfort.
For me the slower numbers work better, with the traditional jazz quartet instrumentation. The Christmas Song and I'll Be Home For Christmas are just the right side of dreamy and Diana makes them her own (not once did Nat Cole come to mind). White Christmas is turned into a slow, smoochy dance, as near to a waltz as the tune will allow, and it works beautifully.
Some of the slower numbers do have orchestral backing, and Johnny Mandel arranges and conducts three of them in his inimitable understated fashion - Christmas Time Is Here, Have Yourself a Merry... and Count Your Blessings. This last track isn't really a Christmas song, but it's a little gem, a lullaby from the pen of Irving Berlin and makes for an excellent closing to the album.
Throughout Diana's singing is as smooth and elegant as we have come to expect. The backings and production, courtesy of Tommy Lipuna, are also polished and just about perfect. If I was picky I would say that it is all just a bit too perfect and clinical - while it's probably a good thing that there's not even a whiff of snow or bells, jingling or otherwise, except in the lyrics, it does seem to lack a bit of colour or emotion. I don't know - maybe I was expecting too much.
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on 16 January 2006
I’m pleased that she has reverted to more classic jazz than her recent offerings which I haven’t enjoyed as much. I heard this in a shop before I realised it was Diana Krall and thought it was an upbeat must buy. This is very much what you expect from a Krall Christmas album. 12 Beautifully orchestrated versions of classic Christmas songs, not always my all-time-favourite versions. For example Ella’s “Sleighride” is hard to beat, but Diana’s version is in her own style. As for “What are you Doing New Years Eve”, I think Harry Connick Jr’s version is far more subtle and therefore superior. “Christmas Time is Here” is a stocking filler. But if you’re fond of Diana and want a new seasonal album to add to your collection you can’t go far wrong.
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on 31 December 2005
When i heard that Diana Krall had recorded an album of Christmas songs i approached it with great reservations - but how wrong i was.This album has the Christmas spirit literally bursting from every track.The picks of the album are the up-tempo big band numbers that are quite simply a joy to listen to."santa Claus is coming to town" is easliy the best version i have heard with it's lustrous brass arrangements and Diana's joyous swinging vocals."Jingle bells" and "Sleigh Ride" get the same treatment but there is a gentle and slightly melancholy side to the album with the "christmas song" and "white Christmas" with Diana's dreamy vocals proving the perfect foil to the cheery up-tempo numbers.Forget all the pop compilation Christmas albums and plump for this one alone because it is quite simply the best.
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on 16 October 2016
This is a beautifully performed selection of eleven Christmas standards plus Irving Berlin's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" which rounds off this understated and classy seasonal jazz album. The Clayton / Hamilton Jazz Orchestra accompanies Diana on seven of the twelve tracks and help to make the entire album an enjoyable and personable listen. I don't have favourite individual tracks here but the whole album has become a favourite - this is a Christmas album where quality is throughout and every track is played.

Just shy of forty-five minutes in duration, the audio quality is superb and the arrangements of all tracks are fresh, sophisticated yet retain the spirit of the originals that we know by others - this is a Christmas album that will be enjoyed and appreciated by those who don't want Christmas to be shouted at them. A six page sleeve contains songs titles, writers, songs duration, players and a page detailing personnel and dedications, as well as photos of the gorgeous Diana Krall.
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For this album, Diana chose to vary the tempo by including some bouncy songs as well as the ballads that she has tended to focus on in her more recent albums. There are no original songs here, but two songs (Christmas time is here, Count your blessings instead of sheep) are rarely recorded compared to the other songs featured.

Another notable feature of this album is that it focuses exclusively on the festive aspects of Christmas. You won't find any songs about Jesus here, so people of all religions and none can enjoy this album. That makes this a rarity among Christmas albums, since the vast majority include at least one song about Jesus.

Diana and her musicians open the album with a distinctive arrangement of Jingle bells. She follows it with another up-tempo song, Let it snow let it snow let it snow, which includes a long instrumental break that allows the musicians (including Diana on piano solo) to show their talents. The remaining tracks are ballads except for Winter wonderland, Santa Claus is coming to town and Sleigh ride, all of which are performed either mid-tempo or up-tempo. Among the ballads, my favorite is Christmas time is here, perhaps because I don't hear it very often.

This is a wonderful Christmas album that will appeal to those who like to hear Diana singing ballads, but which also reminds us of Diana's jazz roots.
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on 30 December 2009
I love this album. Diana Krall's fantastic voice wrapped around Christmas classics, instantly evoking a relaxed Christmas. Perfect listened to whilst wrapping presents in front of a roaring fire with a glass of red wine. Equally as enjoyable listened to in the car whilst battling for supermarket parking spaces on Christmas Eve when you and half of the world realise you've forgotten something essential. If you love Diane Krall, then this album is a must. Equally, if you're just looking for something Christmas-sy to get you in the festive mood, then this is the album for you.
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on 17 December 2006
a lot of good things can be said of DK, she is an incredible singer and an accomplished jazz musician and composer and entertainer. i feel like injecting a little criticisim in this ever growing appreciation.. the music of DK over the time has become increasingly commercial and "polished", her concerts increasingly expensive (and yet costantly sold out). she's probably never been the type of jazz musician to play jam sessions in smoky basements, but her music now sounds so polished that it could even sound artificial, lacking any "soul", a mere commercial excercise (like a Xmas songs CD released before Xmas...). Maybe it's the bad influence of her popstar husband?

It is however a good album and if one really likes Xmas music (as, alas, does my girlfriend), than this is better than nothing.. Merry Xmas.
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on 27 January 2006
A proper old fashioned Christmas album by the best thing to come out of Canada since Maple Syrup. Makes up for Celine Dion.

Have you noticed how Diana looks like a young (Avengers era) Diana Rigg.
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on 14 December 2009
I loved this album, I really did, Krall's vocals and arrangements are really elegant and I've listened to it every day for ages. Initially, I hadn't thought this one was worth buying because I wasn't sure about the string arrangements, but I'm so glad I bought it, especially now. I've always been a fan of hers, and this has renewed my interest in her fabulous music. Buy it, you won't regret it!
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