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Lee Mergner’s Holiday CD Roundup

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Krisanthi Pappas
Letters to Santa
Kermit Ruffins
Eddie Allen

As I wrote in a Tangents column back in 2002, I consider myself a connoisseur of Xmas music, for better and often for worse. There may be more erudite and knowledgeable jazz critics out there, but few own more holiday recordings than this writer. And do you think any upstanding jazz critic is going to listen to and analyze nearly 20 holiday CDs? There is something to be said for qualification by default. So the job was mine.

The recordings began arriving in early July, with Ms. Krisanthi Pappas getting the prize for getting her You and Me By the Christmas Tree to us first before any other holiday CD. On the other hand, some artists approach the release of their holiday CDs much like my own family deals with sending out its annual holiday cards, strictly adhering to the “Better Late Than Never” credo. In any case, I listened to these CDs off and on over a period of several months, so you don’t have to. In the end, many of them make worthy additions to the already crowded canon of jazz holiday music. I hope I’ve described more than judged, but when you listen to holiday songs for hours on end, you can get pretty judgmental. Here we go…

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