VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
10 DEC 07 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Rosemary Clooney, who starred with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in the 1954 holiday classic, White Christmas, had yet to record a Christmas album. When Concord Music Group president Glen Barros asked her why she hadn't, she replied, "I always wanted to but no one ever asked me." Concord asked, and the result is White Christmas, Clooney's highly personal collection of holiday classics.
Brimming with the warmth and intimacy that are hallmarks of Clooney's vocal style, it's a standout in a crowded field. Holidays are about family, and listening to Rosemary sing makes you feel like you're a cherished member of her own family, sitting by the fire in her living room while she entertains you. Of course that would be if her living room were large enough to fit a full orchestra and a six-member jazz choir.
Also available in SACD format, the 21 cuts are a cozy mix of pop chestnuts and traditional carols. What connects songs that range from kid classic, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," to uptown sophisticate, "The Christmas Waltz," is Clooney's delivery. She's always had a knack for sounding wry and winsome at the same time, an ecumenical approach that serves to both elevate a novelty song and take the chill off a Cole Porter urbanity.
Speaking of family, Rosemary duets on White Christmas with her longtime protégé and former next-door neighbor, Michael Feinstein, and enlists brother Nick Clooney, broadcaster and father-of-George, for a light-hearted encore. Hey George, pipe down and pass the cookies -- Aunt Rosemary's getting ready to sing.