Compilation producers: Lee Ritenour, Bud Harner.
Personnel: Joyce Cooling (vocals, guitar); Diana Krall (vocals, piano); Al Jarreau, Will Downing (vocals); Lee Ritenour (guitar, acoustic guitar, strings, electric piano, keyboards, bass synthesizer); Jeff Golub, Marc Antoine , Ram¢n Stagnaro, Tony Maiden (guitar); Bruce Dukov, Charlie Bisharat (violin); Karie Prescott (viola); Alan Pasqua (strings, electric piano, Fender Rhodes piano, bass synthesizer); Dan Higgins (flute); Tim Welvaars (harmonica); Gerald Albright (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Richard Elliot (tenor saxophone); John Beasley (piano, keyboards); Dave Grusin, David Benoit, Joe Sample (piano); Jochem van der Saag (keyboards, drums, programming, background vocals); Jeff Lorber (keyboards); Alex Acu¤a (drums); Walfredo Reyes (percussion); Steve Dubin (drum programming).
Audio Mixers: Don Murray ; Al Schmitt; Paul Mitchell.
Recording information: Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA; Dubie Grooves, Santa Monica, CA; Schnee Studio, North Hollywood, CA; Sound Arts Recording Studios, Houston; Starlight Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Arrangers: Dave Grusin; David Benoit; Jochem van der Saag; Jeff Lorber; Joe Sample; John Beasley; Lee Ritenour ; Steve Dubin.
A host of contemporary jazz stars fills this excellent compilation of traditional holiday music with smooth jazz inflections; jazzy vocals; and dashes of funk, R&B, and world music. Making Spirits Bright features such stellar jazz artists as Lee Ritenour opening with a beautiful smooth jazz version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Diana Krall singing a swinging version of "Jingle Bells," and Gerald Albright out front on saxophone playing a funky but melodic version of "This Christmas." Marc Antoine's guitar is reflective and speaks softly on "What Child Is This?" Dave Grusin's lively "Suite de Nuestra Navidad" closes the program, adding a diverse mix to the music with its happy, lively, Latin flavors. His piano softly underscores a beautiful flute solo and lends the perfect spirit of the holidays -- peace, love, and goodwill. Making Spirits Bright is highly listenable and even more enjoyable because of its up-to-date 21st century versions of some of the world's favorite holiday music. ~ Paula Edelstein