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New England Jazz Ensemble: Wishes You a Cookin' Christmas

Album Notes

Fans of both modern big bands and Christmas melodies will enjoy this set, which is reminiscent of similar projects by Tom Kubis and Rob McConnell. The majority of the first seven songs have arrangements by trumpeter Jeff Holmes. These charts are generally a little witty and have quotes from other Christmas tunes. The soloists are excellent if not overly distinctive and the music is both boppish and swinging. The final nine selections are transcribed from the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn adaptation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite. While the ensembles are very similar to those played by Ellington's orchestra, the solos are fresh and different, in the tradition without copying the past. Overall, A Cookin' Christmas makes for a pleasing set that can be easily enjoyed all year round. ~ Scott Yanow



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