Almost every household has a moment during the Christmas season when Christmas music gets to be, well, too much. When that moment hits--and it will--turn off whatever you have on and put on "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" for a refreshingly astringent, swinging change of pace that still subtly evokes the joy and splendor of the season.
The album opens with "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and goes right through "What Child Is This?", "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and all manner of other holiday favorites. The difference is that Peterson puts his masterful spin on the songs so that they sound not saccharine and dripping with false sentiment, but bracing and clear and fairly snapping with energy. Could there be more innocuous song than "Jingle Bells?" Well, on this album, Peterson and flugelhorn player Jack Schantz make it into a smoothy-smooth, swingin' be-boppy pleasure to listen to.
In addition to all the classics, there is one original here that's well worth the price of the album all on its own: "Christmas Waltz." This is a gorgeous meditation on the regret and memories that can crowd a Christmas--you'll want to put it on while dancing in the dark in front of a roaring fire with your sweetie. Have a glass of champagne while you're at it. See what happens. Highly recommded!