Better Caroling Late Than Never

A Nancy Wilson Christmas (MCG Jazz Records)
Nancy Wilson

By Rick Forest

After 40 years of performing and over 60 albums to her credit, Nancy Wilson finally got around to recording a Christmas album. It was worth the wait. Known for years for her pop, R&B and jazz vocal stylings, Wilson brings all of that talent and experience to bear on a host of holiday classics. You won't find any new tunes here, but what she does with the seasonal standards is pure magic.

She's joined on several tracks by a very tight Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Big Band, featuring Jon Faddis, Slide Hampton, Frank Wess, Antonio Hart, James Moody and Jimmy Heath, to name just a few. On others, you'll find able support from the New York Voices, Monty Alexander, Herbie Mann, and bassist John B. Williams (he was in the Arsenio Hall Show band and always featured by bandleader Michael Wolff - obscure cultural reference).

Nancy's voice is as good as ever, bringing that soulful sensibility that she's been known for to yuletide favorites. It's a baker's dozen of tunes that will work well at a holiday party, or while watching the yuletide log burn with a cup of mulled wine and your favorite elf nearby.