It might be the parties. Or maybe it's the roasting of chestnuts. Or the caroling out in the snow. Whatever the reason, most people consider the holiday season to be the most wonderful time of the year. That's exactly the case among the members of Take 6, the a cappella group that has been mixing elements of jazz, gospel, R&B and vintage doo-wop for nearly 25 years. Recipients of 10 Grammy Awards, the group has made an indelible musical and cultural mark in the past quarter century. Their new holiday CD -- "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" -- is a collection of heartwarming seasonal favorites.
John Sheridan's Dream Band's "Hooray for Christmas", on the other hand, is not your usual Holiday album. As explained in the disc's liner notes, "With a single happy exception, John Sheridan stays away from the pre-tested tried and true Christmas songs and, drawing upon his vast knowledge of American popular music, offers up a program of overlooked and underappreciated gems that in their freshness, along with the joyful enthusiasm with which they are played, summon forth some of the fullness of good feeling that the holiday season was originally meant to convey."
Also: drummer Matt Wilson's "Christmas Tree-O" performs a collection of everyone's favorite holiday tunes in Wilson's always-unique style; Wynton Marsalis presents his first holiday release in 20 years, "Christmas Jazz Jam", which is rooted in the spirit of New Orleans and the gospel church.