Christmas CDs
Jazz Christmas Music - Smooth Pop and Traditional Jazz CDs
Classic Jazz Christmas CD - Traditional sound, features Jazz Combo

Christmas CD Reviews

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A Jazz Christmas CD

Is It Christmas Yet? Christmas CD Review

by Carol Swanson for

When Greg Vail's little girl Vanessa giggles "Daddy, Is it Christmas yet?", all you parents will smile, recognizing that childish anticipation of the holidays that still lives in all of us.

This is how sax man Vail opens his second holiday album,
Is It Christmas Yet? (his first holiday album, Christmas, The Hymns, is also reviewed here). Both are instrumentals, but in my view, this 2004 release differs from the earlier album in at least four important respects.

First, the song emphasis here is more on contemporary holiday tunes (like "Winter Wonderland"), rather than on ancient carols.

Second, Vail's sax seems more at center stage in this recording, and he really makes it smoke. Third, Christmas, The Hymns featured keyboardist extraordinaire Rob Mullins, and that colored the CD's presentation to a fairly large extent.

Finally, Is It Christmas Yet? is the genuine jazz article; it is traditional jazz played in the "old school" way. This definitely is NOT adult contemporary pop or funk or anything other than straight-up jazz.

Backed by an excellent combo, Vail pulls out all the stops, and his sax really wails. I particularly loved his relatively slow, highly textured, and very emotive, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." In contrast, "The Little Drummer Boy" is a runaway freight train, all speed and splash.

The string bass is really special as Vail takes the lead on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (one of my favorite renditions ever.)

To be honest, it's all good here.

Even little Vanessa Vail's way-too-cute vocals on "Silent Night" (under a minute!) work. "Winter Wonderland" is an excellent closer and personifies "cool."

Is jazz your thing? Greg Vail's exciting Is It Christmas Yet? is an outstanding holiday option for your audio system. Give it a spin!


Click CD cover for 6 min CD Sample Audio

Christmas Jazz CD - Traditional Classic Jazz

Christmas Sample Audio by track - Is It Christmas Yet? CD

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