20th Century Masters: The Best Of - The Christmas Collection

by: Vanessa Williams

With the help of some talented friends, charming pop vocalist Vanessa Williams blends in the beauty of jazz, gospel, and soul music to create a portrait of Christmas songs. The record, entitled Star Bright, is genuinely filled with a glistening appeal, and the songs that it contains encompass a rich tapestry of the best and brightest seasonal music. The setting changes via each song, some tunes filled with Williams' rich voice backed by an assertive, charismatic gospel choir. The collection is filled with such traditionals as "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "What Child Is This?" A brilliant rendition of Rob Mathis' "Star Bright" is featured, and "Angels We Have Heard on High" draws the listener to the feeling of a wintry landscape of hope and joy during this festive season. Perhaps the most romantic tune featured in this collection is Williams' duet with Bobby Caldwell, a flavorful jazz singer in his own right. These arrangements make good soup for the casual holiday music listener and should be favorites for a long time to come in the holiday section at one's local retail music store. Just a side note -- the packaging is quite festive and appealing, decorated with snowflakes and blue-type lettering in the credits. Williams looks quite radiant by herself on the cover, enough to appease the listener to buy the record. Other uplifting, praiseworthy tunes such as "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Gracious Good Shepherd" deserve a listen. The final track, "I'll Be Home for Christmas," is the most reflective piece, and should spark one to ponder on holidays and years past, and reminisce on precious times with family or without. ~ Shawn M. Haney

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