Louis Armstrong & Friends – What A Wonderful Christmas
As if Louis Armstrong singing about “Christmas in New Orleans“, “Chistmas In Harlem” and even a “White Christmas” weren’t enough to make this album a classic, Satchmo called on a few of his friends. And when your guest list includes Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, and Eartha Kitt purring “Santa Baby“, you’ve got a serious party on your hands.
1 Louis Armstrong With The Benny Carter Orchestra Christmas In New Orleans 2:55
2 Louis Armstrong With Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra White Christmas 2:39
3 Dinah Washington Silent Night 2:23
4 Mel Torme The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)3:07
5 Louis Armstrong With The Benny Carter Orchestra Christmas Night In Harlem 2:40
6 Peggy Lee With Jud Conlon’s Rhythmaires It’s Christmas Time Again 3:01
7 Louis Armstrong With The Commanders Cool Yule 2:56
8 Lionel Hampton With Sonny Parker Merry Christmas, Baby 3:23
9 Louis Armstrong With The Commanders ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? 2:40
10 Eartha Kitt With Henri Rene & His Orchestra Santa Baby 3:26
11 Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Jingle Bells 3:00
12 Lena Horne Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 2:44
13 Louis Jordan & His Orchestra May Everyday Be Christmas 3:11
14 Louis Armstrong With Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra Winter Wonderland 3:04
This is a Christmas set which really stands out from the pack. For one thing the material is great, and on top of that, it has great sound quality…finish it off with some inspired cover art, and it’s a can’t-miss package. All of the Armstrong tracks are fabulous, and feature a variety of settings, such as Gordon Jenkins’ lush snowscapes for White Christmas & Winter Wonderland, and Benny Carter’s swinging orchestra on Christmas in New Orleans. ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? with The Commanders is a hoot, with a paranoid Louis locked up in his Christmas cabin, wondering what all those funny noises are outside (It’s interesting to note that this “‘Zat You” doesn’t have any whistle or wind overdubs as it does on Laserlight’s Christmas Through The Years). Louis also delivers an infectious Christmas Night In Harlem, and by the time he blows some exuberant trumpet on Cool Yule, feelings of holiday joy will have completely overtaken you. Some of these tunes by Louis are actually pretty rare, so it’s great to have them here in good sound quality.
Other goodies featured include a bluesy Silent Night by Dinah Washington, a live The Christmas Song by Mel Torme (who co-authored it), and a rare and hypnotic Peggy Lee tune called It’s Christmas Time Again. Lionel Hampton brings the good vibes on the blues number Merry Christmas, Baby, Eartha Kitt signs in with her amusing Santa Baby, and Duke Ellington righteously jazzes up Jingle Bells. Lena Horne has it “on good authority” that Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, and Louis Jordan turns in a bluesy and soulful May Everyday Be Christmas.