Artists recording holiday music hail from genres as diverse as R&B, big band, British pub rock and classical Indian.

By Randy Lewis
November 29, 2013
This year’s crop of holiday music releases demonstrates anew that the only rule of success in this specialized genre is that there are no rules. Who’d have predicted that the standouts in a year of big name entries would include R&B superstar Mary J. Blige, the erstwhile king of British pub rock (Nick Lowe) and an Indian classical music virtuoso (James Whetzel)?
Here is Calendar’s annual assessment of the highs and lows of seasonal music collections for 2013. The ratings run from one star (poor) to four stars (essential).

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: “It Feels Like Christmas Time”
(Savoy Jazz)
3 stars

Brian Setzer has made a cottage industry of marrying holiday music with big-band roots rock, a feat that hasn’t gone unnoticed by L.A.’s long-running retro swing band. It’s hard to go wrong with swinging arrangements as tasty as these. Setzer may bring more fire, but BBVD packs plenty of oomph this time out.

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