The Beautiful Day: Flawless alternative Christmas album
His album's unlikely subtitle, Kurt Elling Sings Christmas, doesn't signify wall-to-wall jingle bells. Read the three pages of notes if you want to know exactly where he stands, Christmas-wise. But if you want to hear a subtle, beautifully crafted and constantly surprising set of seasonal songs, just listen.
The whole thing starts with bits of favourite carols, apparently thrown together at random, but in fact minutely layered. Along with his superb vocal technique, this artful casualness is one of Elling's great strengths. From a funky New Orleans version of Little Drummer Boy to a breathtaking evocation of peace in The Snow Is Deep on the Ground, it's flawless.
Five stars: â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…