Jazz Vocals

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Ol' Yule Eyes

06 NOV 09 ANNE FARNSWORTH

Unrepentant sap that I am for all things Christmas, new holiday releases get my synapses twinkling. Christmas With Sinatra And Friends, a recent reissue of festive Frank Sinatra chestnuts, is this year's must-have addition to your holiday collection.

Aside from his stellar pipes and swinging delivery, Sinatra had the gift of making you believe every word he sang. So when the city kid from Hoboken asks to be given an "Old Fashioned Christmas" with "wide open spaces covered in snow," each line brims with nostalgia. It's not just that he was a good actor, and he was, but that he served as a conduit for our dreams, shimmering reflections of our collective nostalgia.

And the friends he brings along? Mel Tormé sings "The Christmas Song," the holiday anthem he co-wrote. Ray Charles' and Betty Carter's cheeky duet on "Baby It's Cold Outside" is hands down the hippest version of this wintertime classic. Rosemary Clooney croons "White Christmas" (she co-starred in the 1954 movie). An interesting addition to the collection is Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born," recorded by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, one of the amazing duo recordings they did in the mid-'70s.

in this playlist.