Publication: Chicago Tribune 
Author: Howard Reich
Date: December 6, 2011
It’s a Christmas miracle: Holiday music that’s actually worth hearing.
For reasons unknown, several major jazz artists have released seasonal recordings that don’t merely recycle music we’ve already been inundated with in the shopping mall. The best of these albums transcend cliché:
Harry Connick, Jr. Trio: “The Happy Elf” (Marsalis Music): Singer-pianist Connick penned the songs for the stage musical “The Happy Elf,” and here he reformats the score for a noble purpose: introducing young listeners to jazz. Connick narrates the tale in the opening track (which runs a little over 10 minutes), his jazz trio swinging in the background. After that, the album offers 12 tracks of unadulterated instrumental jazz, the music at once subtle and sophisticated enough for the connoisseur yet easily accessible to uninitiated ears. If young people are wooed by Connick’s opening recitation, perhaps they’ll let the record keep spinning. Here’s hoping.
To check out Mr. Reich’s other jazzy holiday picks, please visit his full article here .