If you could only pick one Christmas CD this season, Tony Bennett’s The Classic Christmas Album would be an excellent choice.
Tony Bennett celebrated his 85th birthday in August of this year, and over the course of nearly seven decades as a top entertainer, he has recorded five Christmas albums. This CD includes 18 songs personally picked by Bennett from all five albums, plus one previously unreleased song, “What Child is This?” The earliest songs come from Snowfall in 1968, and the most recent from 2008’s A Swingin’ Christmas (aside from the new song).
The first thing you notice is how little Bennett’s voice changed as he got older. He sounds just as strong and smooth in 2008 as he did in 1968, and he still sounds flawless on the newly recorded “What Child is This?”
Then you notice everything else: the beautiful arrangements, lush music, and the way that Bennett’s voice is perfectly suited to Christmas music. It’s hip, yet still respectful of tradition.
If you like Christmas music at all, you are bound to find some favorites here. Secular classics are included: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “My Favorite Things” and “Christmas Time is Here,” “Winter Wonderland,” and more.
Carols are also represented: “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” and “The First Noel,” in duet with Placido Domingo, as well as “What Child is This?”
In addition to the duet with Domingo, there is also a delightful version of “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” with Antonia Bennett, his daughter.
All of the musical accompaniment is rich, lush, and layered, and among the musicians represented are The London Symphony Orchestra, The Count Basie Big Band, and The Ralph Sharon Quartet.
All in all, if The Classic Christmas Album does not put you in the mood, nothing will. It will be the perfect music for all your holiday activities.