Chris Pasin clearly buys into the idea that spreading holiday cheer with and for those who are near and dear is a beautiful manifestation of the Christmas spirit. For Baby It's Cold Outside the veteran trumpeter gathered seven of his musical chums and put together a program of tried-and-true yuletide nuggets, remaining loyal enough to the templates while also juicing the mix.
Six different personnel configurations are in play across this album's eleven trackseverything from a Patricia Dalton Fennell-Armen Donelian voice-and-piano duo on "Greensleeves" to a swinging, horn-fronted quintet take on "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" that has a dalliance with double timeand Pasin's mix-and-match approach for track-to-track casting helps to hold interest. A buoyant and ballsy "We Three Kings Of Orient" leads to a reverent-turned-flowing "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel" painted with patience by Pasin and Donelian; a casual take on the title track with some role reversal and pseudo-sprechstimme exchanges between Pasin and Dalton Fennell makes its way toward an "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" where the leader and guitarist Peter Einhorn share the spotlight; and an appropriately sentimental "Christmas Time Is Here," complete with some space for the leader to stretch, draws a clear line to a lively "I'll Be Home For Christmas" that replaces the song's usual misty-eyed sentiments with joyful expressions.
Baby It's Cold Outside sits in an appealing middle ground, neither playing toward the lowest common denominator nor coming off as a highbrow holiday happening. It boasts direct and accessible arrangements and toasts the season with style.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; Santa Claus Is Coming To Town; We Three Kings Of Orient Are; Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel; Baby It's Cold Outside; It Came Upon A Midnight Clear; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Greensleeves; Christmas Time Is Here; I'll Be Home For Christmas; The Christmas Song.
Chris Pasin: trumpet, flugelhorn (1-7, 9-11); Armen Donelian: piano (1-4, 8, 11); Ira Coleman: bass (1-3, 11); Jeff Siegel: drums (1-3, 5-7, 9-11); Patricia Dalton Fennell: vocals (1, 8); Peter Einhorn: guitar (5-7, 9, 10); Rich Syracuse: bass (5-7, 9, 10).