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by Jack Bowers
Listening to this seasonal mélange by saxophonist Bruce Abbott and the North Star Jazz Ensemble (supported by the Hawthorne String Quartet), the word “pleasant” springs to mind. The liner notes portray the album as a “collection of beloved holiday chestnuts” that is “richly romantic, slightly nostalgic and entirely engaging,” and I can’t think of a more appropriate description. Everything is taken at a leisurely pace (even such normally upbeat themes as “Deck the Halls” and “Let It Snow”), and Abbott’s ...read more