I'll Be Home for Christmas is classic in every sense of the word. First, the David Leonhardt Jazz Group is a classic jazz ensemble of the highest order; everything about it exudes superb musicianship. These five talented artists (David Leonhardt on piano, Nancy Reed providing vocals, Larry McKenna on sax, Matthew Parrish on bass, and Taro Okamoto on drums) are consummate professionals, meshing comfortably like one seamless organism. The music selection is also classic; the 15 pieces on this generous (over an hour of music!) album cover a broad range of largely secular favorites. And the sound is naturally class jazz, through and through!
Five of the 15 cuts have vocals, and Nancy Reed's mellow, soulful stylings add just the right touch. She is especially fine on the richly rewarding "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and on the delightfully rhythmic "Sleigh Ride" (great drumming!). The David Leonhardt Jazz Group does everything extremely well, so designating "Top Hits" is extremely tough. Even so, the most memorable moments for me included the syncopated, samba-soaked "Jingle Bells," the exotic "We Three Kings" with jammin' piano improvisations, and the superb sax melody on the title track "I'll Be Home for Christmas." It's all good.
Jazz aficionados will flip for the David Leonhardt Jazz Group's I'll Be Home for Christmas . It's a classic!