I love Take 6.  I love Christmas music.  So when Take 6 released their third (count 'em!) Christmas album last week, I got to a music store as fast as I could and bought a copy.  And listened to it.  And listened to it again.  And again.  And again.

If you've ever heard any of Take 6's music, you know the quality of their musicianship.  Their music is rich with interest and flawlessly executed.  But what I think is remarkable about this album is that they have struck a great balance between complexity and familiarity, and in the process created an album that is appealing to both musicians and the more casual listener.  The product is an album that is accessible to everyone.

Check out this sampler from the album:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year has a little bit of everything-- a little sacred, a little traditional, a little classical, and even a little pop culture.  I must say that their Salsa-inspired "White Christmas" has been stuck in my head for two days.  Their version of "The Grinch" has bass singer Alvin Chea facing off against first tenor Claude McKnight as they each trade off verses of the song while trying to out-do the other.  The result had me smiling all the way through!  (Be sure to pay attention to the background vocals-- "What's a sot?")  There's a jazzed up "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies" (they simply call it "The Sugarplum Dance") that grooves, and a "Sleigh Ride" that just might be my new favorite version of that song.

The album ends with the Charlie Brown classic "Christmas Time is Here," which features guest vocalist Shelea Frazier with a wistfully sweet performance.  The harmonies behind her are so beautiful and warm that listening to them is like being wrapped in a warm blanket.  It's the perfect way to cap off a truly wonderful album.

For more information on Take 6, please visit their website.  You can buy The Most Wonderful Time of the Year on their website, through your local retailer, Amazon.com, and iTunes (to name a few).



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