A Cool Yuletide
Urbie Green and his All-Stars
X Records LXA 2026 (Remastered 2018 by Legacy Recordings)
This came out of nowhere this past week. A member of the FaLaLaLaLa forums shared the YouTube video below, which was the first that any of us had heard about this:
From the video:
In December of 1954, “X” Records (a subsidiary of RCA Victor) released a 10-inch LP by jazz trombonist Urbie Green, featuring an ALL-STAR lineup including Al Cohn (saxophone), Joe Wilder (trumpet), Mundell Lowe (guitar) and Milt Hinton (bass).
Featuring 8 Christmas classics, Billboard proclaimed the collection “Pretty entrancing on the jazz kick.”
Inexplicably, despite being one of the finest examples of Christmas music in the modern jazz idiom, the album has remained OUT OF PRINT for almost seven decades. Until NOW!
For the first time in 65 years, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings has pulled the original mono master tape from the vault.
Recently, these pristine, high-fidelity analog recordings were transferred and remastered in high resolution by world-renowned Sony Music engineer Mark Wilder.
The results are MAGNIFICENT, and we’re pleased to announce that this dazzling historic classic is now available for download and streaming at all major digital service providers.
While those comments are obviously marketing talk, they really don’t overhype just how great this collection is or how clean this remaster sounds. Given that this collection is not very well known, I’m surprised to see Legacy put the resources into a remaster like this. But I’m certainly glad they did.
Featuring Al Cohn, Jimmie Crawford, Al Epstein, Milton Hinton, Don Lamond, Mundell Lowe, Buddy Weed and Joe Wilder
This is a decidedly straightforward set of Christmas classics given a respectfully swinging treatment by a stellar group of players. The arrangements don’t take a lot of liberties or stray too far. The melodies are treated respectfully and the solos are tasteful and compact. I believe there’s enough here to satisfy both real jazz fans and the casual listener looking for some swinging songs for the work Christmas party.
Follow the links below to stream or to buy (and download a PDF of the liner notes transcribed by yours truly).