Anita Baker - Christmas Fantasy

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    Anita Baker
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    For years Anita Baker fans have been waiting for two things from her: a Christmas album and a jazz disc.  With Christmas Fantasy she delivers a two-fer:  An excellent holiday album that is also her first significant foray into jazz.  Surrounded by an A-list of supporting players including Joe Sample, George Duke, James Gadson and long-time collaborator Barry Eastmond (all of whom sound great), Baker has created what is likely the year's best Christmas disc.  She again reminds us that she is a fine songwriter, with three wonderful new tunes that fit well in her normal Urban Adult Contemporary mold.  But the disc really shines on her jazzy covers of holiday classics such as "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  And while the somewhat shaky "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" shows she is still developing as a j
    For years Anita Baker fans have been waiting for two things from her: a Christmas album and a jazz disc.  With Christmas Fantasy she delivers a two-fer:  An excellent holiday album that is also her first significant foray into jazz.  Surrounded by an A-list of supporting players including Joe Sample, George Duke, James Gadson and long-time collaborator Barry Eastmond (all of whom sound great), Baker has created what is likely the year's best Christmas disc.  She again reminds us that she is a fine songwriter, with three wonderful new tunes that fit well in her normal Urban Adult Contemporary mold.  But the disc really shines on her jazzy covers of holiday classics such as "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."  And while the somewhat shaky "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" shows she is still developing as a jazz stylist, her version of "Christmas Time is Here" is perhaps the best ever recorded.  Christmas Fantasy is a long-awaited treat and a great holiday listen.  Highly recommended.
     
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