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40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Peak Records

If you have the Vince Guaraldi A Charlie Brown Christmas, good for you.  This CD would make a perfect companion to it.  This time out, the fortieth anniversary employs a cache of jazz giants to prop up the Guaraldi material.  This CD is infinitely better than the “Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown” from the '90’s.

David Benoit's "Christmas is Coming" is one of the most exciting moving tracks on the CD and a perfect way to open  The soulful Brian McKnight puts his velvet voice to "Christmas Time Is Here.”  This tune is the best of the bunch.  “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is treated to a visit from Toni Braxton and she keeps it sultry to the end.  Guitarist Norman Brown offers a fantastic escapade with his version of “Skating” featuring an acoustic trio. Chaka Khan turns in a simple and very effective “The Christmas Song” alone with an acoustic piano trio in a down-home, family-oriented setting. Dave Koz cuts it up with his Latin jazz interpretation of the “Linus and Lucy” theme on soprano saxophone that a standout.

Nothing will replace the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack for pure nostalgia’s sake.  This jazz interpretation will make you appreciate it even more.  Top notch artists paying tribute to a wonderful artist and a very big part of Americana’s Christmas memories.

Jon Rice  11/26/2005


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