Yolanda Rabun -- Christmastime

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Yolanda Rabun — Christmastime

Dec. 18, 2012

Here’s one of those standout projects celebrating the Christmas season in grand style. Yolanda Rabun, a talented vocalist who’s worked with former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken and has opened for Jennifer Holiday and is now preparing to open for the R&B icons The Isley Brothers, offers us a totally attractive R&B/jazz/gospel/soul holiday album entitled Christmastime. The album simply drips with charm and good vibes.

This well-traveled, beautiful young vocalist has adeptly taken on many of the classics here and, together with a pair of splendid writers (Alton Tisino and Mitch Uscher, and her musical director Christopher Evans, transformed them with her soft style. Adding to that are a few very impressive originals.

Each lovely tune — from the opening track, the jazzy “Twelfth Night/O’ Mistress Mine” (an interesting combination of the words of Shakespeare with some of Rabun’s own words and all of her own music) to her marvelously arranged “Silent Night (Sweet Little Jesus Boy)” to the R&B flavored “I’m Coming Home for the Holidays” and beyond – grips you with the spirit while appealing to your musical preferences and senses. It is truly one production that I simply could not have ignored.

This is the music you want enveloping the room as you sit nestled in front of the fireplace sipping eggnog with your very merry partner. It is also one for those who just like the fullness and sounds of Christmas to be all around as they wrap gifts, engage in happy chatter with a group of friends, or frolic with the kids.

Originality and strong interpretations are the most descriptive word I can use here. A great example is the happy, gospel-filled/jazz-tinged “Children Go Where I Send Thee.”

Yolanda Rabun. A name you will remember if you don’t know her already. Christmastime. A truly must-have album for the season and beyond. – Ronald Jackson

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