The Bottom Line
As the press release stated, this is not your typical "sit-by-the-fireside holiday CD." The majority of the Christmas songs on This Christmas with Imani Winds are upbeat jazz renditions. Apart from several exquisite arrangements, this Christmas album may disappoint more than delight. Though I would not go as far as saying the album is bad by any means, it's just... okay.
- Superb performance by the Grammy nominated ensemble
- Quintessential Christmas music
- More "ok" tracks than "wow" tracks
- A few of the Christmas song arrangements are lackluster, exaggerated, and unoriginal
- Released October 2008
- 1 Disk, 14 Tracks
- Total Play Time: 55 Minutes
- Valerie Coleman, flute & piccolo; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe & English horn; Mariam Adam, clarinet; Jeff Scott, French horn
- Monica Ellis, bassoon Jason Moran, piano; Jamaes Genus, bass; Nate Smith, drums; Javier Diaz, percussion.
Guide Review - This Christmas with Imani Winds
Out of the 14 tracks, there are several songs that are leagues above the others: "Bring the Torch, Jeanette, Isabella," "Jingle Bells," and "Sleigh Ride." These three songs open the album with such a kick, you'd expect the rest of the songs on the album to follow suit. Unfortunately they do not. Immediately following is "Silent Night," a "lounge-y" rendition overly saturated with a blues bar sound. A few others also fail to deliver what the first three did. "Carol of the Bells" and "O Holy Night" seem as though they are trying too hard to stand apart in the sea of classical music Christmas albums. The penultimate track on This Christmas
is one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Imani Winds' endearing interpretation of this holiday classic was a nice surprise.
Imani Winds was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover.