This Is Christmas

Luther Vandross

Rather than a do a rehash of many of the obvious traditional tunes that fill special holiday albums by contemporary performers, maestro Luther Vandross opted for the task of creating no fewer than 7 of the 10 tracks included on his 1995 Christmas release. The result is an album that demonstrates why Vandross is still considered the preeminent black male vocalist of close to two decades: as on typical Vandross recordings, the production is crisp and strong and the vocals are flawless. As usual, he employs the cream of musicians and background vocalists (including the inimitable Cissy Houston and Darlene Love, who is featured on the Motown-like duet “I Listen to the Bells”)—the perfect backdrop for Vandross’s distinctive sound, exemplified on the standout title track. “The Mistle Toe Jam” has the party-like feel of Vandross sides like “Bad Boy” and the more recent “Nights in Harlem,” while “Every Year, Every Christmas” (cowritten with Richard Marx) is a soulful slow jam. A surprising reading of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “My Favorite Things” shows that if Vandross ever chose to, he could easily do a fine album of jazz standards, while “O Come All Ye Faithful” (featuring an all-star choir that includes Valerie Simpson) is given the album’s most traditional reading. Standouts include the gorgeous “Please Come Home for Christmas” and the almost funky “A Kiss for Christmas.” Easily one of the best Christmas albums around.

  • With A Christmas Heart
  • This Is Christmas
  • The MistleTOE JAM (Everybody Kiss Somebody)
  • Every Year, Every Christmas
  • My Favorite Things
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • I Listen To The Bells
  • Please Come Home For Christmas
  • A Kiss For Christmas
  • O' Come All Ye Faithful