December 1st, 2010
Label: Kedar Entertainment Group
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: November 2, 2010
I was prepared not to like this album, thinking it would be the usual holiday knock-off, but was pleasantly surprised by the tasteful jazzy arrangements and restrained vocals. The R&B crooner known simply as Joe (aka Joe Lewis Thomas) has produced a number of top ten charting albums over the past decade, but this appears to be his first holiday CD. Actually, the majority of the selections were released last year on the 6 track EP Make Sure You’re Home for Christmas which received limited distribution. Now repackaged as Home is the Essence of Christmas, four new songs have been tacked on to complete the disc, including the newly composed “Christmas in New York” (by Joshua Thompson), “Christmas Time Is Here,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and the closing instrumental “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with a sax taking over the solo. Also included are two original songs by Joe, “It Ain’t Christmas” and “Make Sure You’re Home,” which are straight ahead R&B arrangements. If you’re looking to set a romantic atmosphere for the holiday, this CD delivers.
Posed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss