I write about a lot of jazz vocal albums, and while going through this year’s Holiday releases, one jumped at me – a jazz vocal Christmas album that I fell in love with instantly.
It’s ‘Christmas Is: December Duets,’ a ‘duet’ album with pianist Mike Renzi and jazz vocalist Jim Porcella. Renzi is a legend in my world – he has played with some of the best singers (Sinatra, Bennett) and to me he is the star of this album – the piano playing is exquisite here, calm and assured.
Porcella is no slouch either. He is based in new England and sings in a relaxed menial voice with a great way with a lyric. You find yourself listening to how he interprets these words, and you feel like you are hearing these songs in a fresh manner. I love how different a song like ‘Blue Christmas’ sounds for example, where the meaning of melancholy is mined with the arrangement here. And speaking of longing, listen to ‘A Christmas Love Song,’ and marvel at how longing sounds.