Hopefully, this is the last Christmas album on my review list, as we are already well into February and we are well past sell by date. One of the problems of not getting home very often is that when I am actually sent something physically, it can mean there are delays – especially when I am always massively behind anyway. Mind you, listening to Christmas albums from the Northern hemisphere always seems wrong in many ways, given that artists are singing about snow and fires and we are basking in a Southern summer. What we have here is the latest album from Austrian Simone Kopmajer, where she runs through a collection of well-known and more obscure Christmas numbers, all in a jazz or jazz folk style.
Somewhat unusually she also performs some numbers in German, and at times brings in instruments not normally associated with jazz, such as dulcimer, all with her wonderfully delicate vocals. There is the feeling she is always well within herself, and the result is something which is pleasant but rarely more than that, and at times there is just too much sugar. An example of this is the perennial favourite “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, which is actually quite twee, and even the use of clarinet to give it a lift does little to make one wish for something with a little more edge. However, the song which closes the album is stripped away from most of the schmaltz, and here she allows her vocals to have centre stage, with accompaniment that is close to perfect, as she finishes with “Stille Nacht”. It is the perfect ending to the album, and although I would have preferred her to have sung the complete song in German as opposed to switching to English, no-one can deny it is a lovely version.
7 /10 Kev Rowland