Dave Koz – A Smooth Jazz Christmas

Dave Koz - A Smooth Jazz ChristmasDave Koz
A Smooth Jazz Christmas
by Ray Redmond

At this point I’ve probably heard the same 20 holiday songs anywhere from 4-9 nine times apiece on some eleven christmas albums. When I picked up the ‘Koz Christmas’ CD I was expecting more of the same until I read the liner notes… Dave Koz, Peter White, Brenda Russell, David Benoit, Rick Braun, ‘whoa!’ I thought to myself, ‘this is an unofficial subset of the Smooth Jazz Mafia, so it should be Good!‘ and it IS.

Peter White’s guitar on “Silent Night” is eloquent and beautiful, and his solo on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” shows why he is one of the best around today, mixing his flamenco-like strumming with Dave’s strong sax. Koz has another very strong solo kicking the up-tempo rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” with David Benoit.

Brenda Russell does a smooth and mellow version of her hit “Get Here”. This is a touching song that is as fitting for the soldiers over in Afghanistan today as it was for the soldiers in the Gulf war ten years ago when the track was released. If that’s not enough Brenda also croons a “White Christmas” that will bring a tear to your eye.

Before I heard this CD, my best of the holiday crop was a release where there were a collection of artists who had each performed a song. On this release, the artists perform the songs together, each taking the lead on some tracks and just accompanying on others. That CD may still be a better collection of songs, but this is the best collection of performances out there. This group of artists plays a lot together during the course of the year, and it certainly shows here.