The Canadian Brass have made a slew of holiday albums, all excellent. But I feel their first, A Canadian Brass Christmas on CBS (now Sony) had that extra touch to make it the best of all. It travels from the religious to the secular in a procession that seems logical and by presenting many different facets of the season, it’s surely the best all purpose holiday album. At the beginning, after some sonorous bell chimes, the first trumpet and tuba duet on “Ding Dong! Merrily on High.” Horn and trombone enter with lightly pulsing notes and the magic begins.
The religious songs and carols include “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” “I Saw Three Ships,” “The Huron Carol,” and Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella.” Turning to the secular side there’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Silver Bells,” “White Christmas,” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and ‘Frosty, the Snow Man” make appearances in memorable and humorous versions that blend in Dixieland Jazz and spoken comments wry in nature. Sony still has the disc in its catalog, you can even find used ones for less than a dollar at Amazon.com. Vinyl, too.