Christmas Time Is Here
Label: Kemistry Records / Motown
The best thing about Kem's Christmas album is its allusions to '50s-styled cool jazz. He covers Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here" by subduing his voice until he sings in a hushed tone while throwing in plenty of "baby" and "girl" like a latter-day Chet Baker. There is "Be Mine for Christmas," where Ledisi sings of "A celebration of green and gold/ Sing along to Nat King Cole," and the a cappella "Doo Wop Christmas." Other songs like "What Christmas Means" cover more familiar territory for Kem, a blend of Al Jarreau's vocal pop whimsy and Sade's quiet storm drama.