It’s the most wonderful time of the year! However, for musical releases in the holiday season that is not always the case. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a new Christmas-themed CD that is simply just the same old remake of holiday classics — from “The Christmas Song” to “Jingle Bells” — and offers nothing new, nor creates any different movement than the versions performed before. This was not the case when I opened up the brand new holiday offering from newcomer Leslie Odom Jr., titled “Simply Christmas”.
Now if you’re not familiar with that name, Leslie Odom Jr. is a Tony Award-winning actor who had incredible success on the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton” with his role as Aaron Burr. The 35-year-old released his debut self-titled CD earlier this year. It blew me away. It is an incredible straight-ahead project in which Leslie sails over lyrics masterfully, channeling his inner Marvin Gaye. It is like butter sliding off of a hot bun on a Thanksgiving plate. Well “Simply Christmas” is in that same vein, as Odom Jr. offers up holiday classics, in addition to a few not so known tunes like the Carpenters' “Merry Christmas Darling,” which he transforms into lofty Christmas wish.
If you are looking for something to warm your heart and get you in the holiday spirit, then look no further than “Simply Christmas,” as Leslie Odom Jr. will share his gift of music with you. Listen all month long to hear selections from this project, as it is our CD of the month here on Your Source for Cool Jazz & More, WEAA 8.9FM, The Voice of the Community.