The Sackville All-Star Christmas Record review…November, 4, 2014…

THE SACKVILLE ALL-STARS

THE SACKVILLE ALL-STAR CHRISTMAS ALBUM

SACKVILLE SK 3038

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN–WE THREE KINGS–AT THE CHRISTMAS BALL–WINTER WONDERLAND–GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN–GOOD KING WENCESLAUS–SANTA CLAUS CAME IN THE SPRING–SILENT NIGHT–LET IT SNOW–OLD TIME RELIGION

The Sackville label was started in Toronto, Canada, in 1968, by John Norris and Bill Smith, and is predominantly a jazz label.  Many of the greats have recorded for this imprint,  and, indeed, an All-Star caliber cast of players came together for “The Sackville All-Star Christmas Album,” released on vinyl in 1986, and every bit the classic it was back then.  Thanks to the folks at Delmark for making this one available to us.

For this set, Ralph Sutton, one of the great stride pianists of all time is on keys.  Milt Hinton, known for “slapping” his bass, is one of the most prolifically-recorded bassists, having appeared on over a thousand sessions, is on bass, with Gus Johnson on drums and Scottish-born Jim Galloway on soprano sax.  They perform several well-known Christmas classics, as well as a few tunes that are in keeping with the spirit and themes of the holidays.

If traditional Christmas is what you are seeking, then you can’t go wrong with this album.  The sax and piano call-and-response is excellent throughout “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” and again on the somber “Silent Night.”  Check out  Milt’s waaay-cool solo in “We Three Kings,”  and Jim’s snazzy sax work on “Winter Wonderland,” and on the rhumba-fied beat of “Let It Snow.”

If the traditional is not your thing, no worries.  These fellows do an excellent job on Bessie Smith’s “At The Christmas Ball,” and  they close the set with an outright swingin’ version of “Old Time Religion.”

“The Sackville All-Star Christmas Album” will work for you with just about anything you have planned.  You can easily play it in the office, while you are trimming the tree, or opening packages on the big day.  This is a great holiday collection from an All-Star cast, indeed!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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