Russ Lorenson‘s new Christmas CD released recently is titled “In the Holiday Spirit” and features the Kelly Park Big Band. The CD is a refreshing throwback to Christmas swing and the glitter that only big band can bring to Christmas.
Most amazing is the fact that Lorenson pulls this off without the classics of Rudolph, Let it Snow or White Christmas. Most are lesser-known classics that are familiar but give his offering a fresh feel.
The album kicks off with Shake Hands with Santa Claus, a 50s-era tune made famous first by Louis Prima (hear it here). But Santa isn’t the only Claus Lorenson gives a nod to — the tune Mrs. Claus is from by San Francisco composers Candace Forrest & Nancy Schimmel that honors a woman who spends every Christmas Eve alone.
Other classic selections include Aretha Franklin’s happy homage to the joys of “Kissin’ By The Mistletoe,” Julie London’s “Warm In December,” Dean Martin’s bluish hit “The Christmas Blues,” and “A Winter Romance.” In each Lorenson’s warm, enthusiastic swing makes for festive listening. It’s a full CD, here is the track listing.
1. Shake Hands with Santa Claus
2. Holiday for Two
3. Let’s Share Christmas
4. Let Me Be the First to Wish You Merry Christmas
5. Jingles, the Christmas Cat
6. You’re All I want for Christmas
7. Mrs. Claus
8. Warm in December
9. The Christmas Blues
10. Santa Claus is Near
11. It’ll Be Christmas Before You Know It
12. A Winter Romance
13. Kissin’ By the Mistletoe
14. Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth
15. It’s Christmas Time All Over the World
Lorenson brings us a full, festive and fun Christmas offering. Some consistently compares Lorenson to the crooners of old — Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and others. That’s a bit unfair. Russ Lorenson sands on his own against the classics in this album. Instead of retreading their Christmas standards (as they all did with each other) Russ brings — finally — some new standards that lovers of crooners can enjoy season after season.