How much you enjoy Christmas albums is in direct proportion to how much you enjoy Christmas. Personally, I think Christmas is a joy for kids and a pain in the butt for adults. However, after listening to Peace Round
by the Yellowjackets, I might have to reassess my previously held "Bah, humbug," attitude.
It's funny, but I've just begun to realize that Bob Mintzer is a really good saxophone player. Whether he's soloing or just swinging in the background, Mintzer is solid, not showy, but he really got my attention in the way he lays it out on "Winter Wonderland," "Deck the Halls" and "Silent Night." Equally outstanding is Marcus Baylor's vividly expressive brushes and Russell Ferrante's gentle piano on "Silent Night."
But don't sleep on bassist Jimmy Haslip and his stylings on the funkiest version of "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" you've ever
. The guys sound like they had a lot of fun putting this album together. Christmas albums can come out as pretty pointless, but the Yellowjackets really put some heart and soul into this project.
I got this album back during the summer and when I saw it was a Christmas album, I had a "What the heck?" moment and put it away until I remembered it a few weeks ago. I think I'm pretty glad I did, because powered by Mintzer's sizzling saxophone, I might be playing Peace Round
well into next summer.