Christmas Fantasy

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Dave Gil de Rubio
For her first holiday-themed release, R&B/jazz vocal vet Anita Baker takes a refreshingly non-boilerplate approach, rounding up a clutch of jazz vets (the Yellowjackets, George Duke, Larry Carlton) and cutting loose on a set of holiday classics delivered with intriguing new twists. With help from Gene Lobianco's clarinet, Baker infuses a childhood standard with a Dixieland vibe on "Frosty's Rag (Frosty the Snowman)." The sultry vocalist does John Coltrane proud with a rendition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard "My Favorite Things" that swings with piano accompaniment by Joe Sample and Baker's scatting. Vince Guaraldi is also given his due with a take ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Dave Gil de Rubio
For her first holiday-themed release, R&B/jazz vocal vet Anita Baker takes a refreshingly non-boilerplate approach, rounding up a clutch of jazz vets (the Yellowjackets, George Duke, Larry Carlton) and cutting loose on a set of holiday classics delivered with intriguing new twists. With help from Gene Lobianco's clarinet, Baker infuses a childhood standard with a Dixieland vibe on "Frosty's Rag (Frosty the Snowman)." The sultry vocalist does John Coltrane proud with a rendition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard "My Favorite Things" that swings with piano accompaniment by Joe Sample and Baker's scatting. Vince Guaraldi is also given his due with a take on his Charlie Brown classic, "Christmas Time Is Here," a delicate melding of Sample's light touch and Baker's breathy phrasing that's every bit as melancholy as the original. There's also a trio of Baker originals, notably "Moonlight Serenade," with its snappy interplay between Ricky Lawson's crackling timekeeping and Baker's bebop-flavored phrasing. Add Christmas Fantasy to the shortlist of essential holiday listening.
All Music Guide - David Jeffries
Holiday titles live a bit outside an artist's standard discography, but if you look at Christmas Fantasy as a follow-up to the 2004 comeback My Everything, it continues that album's looser feel, less concerned with the charts and all the better because of it. There are only nine tracks on Anita Baker's Christmas Fantasy, but the album still clocks in at 45 minutes, with most tracks letting things comfortably develop past the five-minute mark. Part of the reason for this is the band. With George Duke, Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, the underrated Ricky Lawson, and other top-notch folk involved, it would be a shame not to let these boys play, but as much as they get to vamp, it's still Baker's album, 100 percent. Her increasing love of scat singing finds her interacting with the musicians in cool urbanite fashion, free but neither languid nor shamelessly bold. The exciting Crescent City take on "Frosty the Snowman," "Frosty's Rag," may be the standout track at first glance, but it's the cool interaction between singer and band on more subdued numbers like "O Come, All Ye Faithful" with the Yellowjackets and "Moonlight Sleighride" that makes the album worth returning to each holiday season. With its sparse, nearly haiku lyrics, "Moonlight Sleighride" is far and away the best of the three original numbers here, with "Family of Man" finishing second due to its mostly non-holiday lyrics that are clumsily tied to Christmas with a tacked-on final verse. A distant third, "Christmas Fantasy" feels too forced, but all is forgiven when Baker closes the album with an effervescent "My Favorite Things," putting her own spin on a song despite all the "definitive" versions that have come before. Kudos to Baker for avoiding anything sugary or diva and delivering on the promise she makes in the liner notes. "I wanted Mom & Dad to have a recording that we could listen to with a glass of wine after the kids were in bed," she states. Christmas Fantasy is not only that but more evidence Anita Baker's Career, Pt. 2 may be more sumptuous than Pt. 1.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/4/2005
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 094633217324
  • Catalog Number: 32173
  • Sales rank: 167,527

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Anita Baker Primary Artist, Vocals
Larry Carlton Guitar
George Duke Piano
Joe Sample Piano
Phil Upchurch Guitar
Sharon Bryant Background Vocals
Jimmy Haslip Bass
Nathan East Bass, Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Barry J. Eastmond Keyboards, fender rhodes
Russell Ferrante Piano
Reggie Hamilton Acoustic Bass
Ricky Lawson Drums
Timothy May Guitar
Rafael Padilla Percussion
Tiffany Palmer Background Vocals
Marcus Baylor Drums
Gene Lobianco Clarinet
Carlos Ricketts Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Anita Baker Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Executive Producer, Vocal Arrangements, Audio Production
Vince Guaraldi Composer
Joe Sample Arranger
Richard Rodgers Composer
Buck Ram Composer
Barry J. Eastmond Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Vocal Arrangements
Russell Ferrante Arranger
Kim Gannon Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Walter Kent Composer
Doug Sax Mastering
Al Schmitt Engineer
A. Baker Composer
Robert Hadley Mastering
Traditional Composer
Bill Airey Smith Engineer
Gordon H. Jee Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A PERFECT Christmas CD!!

    I love when Christmas rolls around, so to get in the &quot spirit&quot - I pull out all of my Christmas albums! Well, the only one I listen to now is Anita Baker's! It is a wonderful Christmas CD - it's jazzy, but not too slow! I love Christmas music in jazz form, this is a must-have for anyone for Christmas, even if you're not an Anita Baker fan!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews