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Classical Music Review

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A Sentimental Christmas


Artists: Nat "King" Cole and Friends
Label: Captial Records
RRP: £13.99
6 02438 16917 7
Release Date: 29 October 2021

This unique holiday album weaves Nat "King" Cole’s unparalleled, beautifully restored vocals with new arrangements and contemporary artists to create a collection of beautiful sentimental duets of holiday classics. The album features duets with Kristin Chenoweth, Gloria Estefan, John Legend, Johnny Mathis, and Calum Scott...

I'm seriously conflicted about this release. Nat "King" Cole is always a huge part of Christmas and his festive songs are classics that really get you in the mood for the holiday season. However most people will no doubt already own every single original festive recording he ever released. So how do you release a Cole Christmas album without just going through the motions?

Producers at Capitol Records obviously thought remastering Cole's performances and then pairing them with newly recorded duets from celebrated artists and new band/orchestral recordings was the way to go. I don't know if they they got bored or realised it was not cost effective, but of the 11 songs only 5 include guest singers. The problem is that not all of the artists are in the same league as Cole.

We open with Johnny Mathis on 'Deck The Hall/Joy To The World' who manages to compliment Cole's original. Other impressive tracks include Calum Scott on 'O Holy Night' and Gloria Estefan on 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square'.

While, for the most part, this is a pretty successful project... I think I would have preferred the original songs with a new full orchestral backing. I know this was popular a few years ago with various artists, but I think Cole deserves an orchestral remix.

As it stands this is an enjoyable, but certainly not essential, Christmas album.

Track listing:

01. Deck the Hall/Joy to the World (duet with Johnny Mathis)
02. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)/The First Noel
03. The Very Thought of You (duet with Kristin Chenoweth)
04. Auld Lang Syne (Interlude)
05. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
06. O Holy Night (duet with Calum Scott)
07. O Little Town of Bethlehem/Silent Night
08. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Interlude)
09. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (duet with Gloria Estefan)
10. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
11. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire) (duet with John Legend)


Darren Rea

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