Personnel includes: B.B. King (vocals, arranger, guitar); Leon Warren (guitar); Melvin Jackson (saxophone); Stanley Abernathy, James Bolden (trumpet); James Sells Toney (keyboards); Michael Doster (bass); Calep Emphrey Jr. (drums).
Recorded at Dockside, Maurice, Louisiana; Sound On Sound, Unique Studios, New York, New York.
A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF HOPE won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.
"Auld Lang Syne" won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
After nearly five decades of making music, B.B. King ducked into the studio with his touring band to come up with his very first holiday album, A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF HOPE. Despite bringing in The Nashville String Machine, co-producer King used them in a way that enhanced his rich singing on lush versions of Billy Ward's "Christmas In Heaven" and a pair of Charles Brown perennials--"Please Come Home For Christmas" and "Merry Christmas Baby." Other artists getting the royal treatment are Clarence Carter (a funky "Back Door Santa") and Amos Milburn (the brass-soaked "Christmas Comes But Once A Year"). The only originals the King Of The Blues trots out are his resurrected 1960 shuffle "Christmas Celebration" and the more recent slow blues instrumental "Christmas Love."
King even squeezes in a tribute to the New Year with a rollicking take on Brown's "Bringing In A Brand New Year" and an equally swinging instrumental interpretation of "Auld Lang Syne." In true holiday spirit, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF HOPE will fund innovative research and compassionate patient care programs at the California-based City of Hope, a world-renowned comprehensive cancer center.
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