Consumer Guide Album
Louis Armstrong & Friends: What a Wonderful Christmas [Hip-O, 1997]
Armstrong is the perfect host--always cheerful in demeanor, never maudlin in sentiment--and his grab bag of Satchmo seasonals and stellar one-shots packs a hell of a party. He even makes the most of "'Zat You, Santa Claus," not to mention Gordon Jenkins, although after he gives Steve Allen's "Cool Yule" the once-over he figures he'd better just pretend it's jazz. Beyond that, the only wet blankets are an oddly sober Louis Jordan and Lena Horne (she can't help it, she's Lena Horne). Home for the holidays: Mel Torme. Ho ho ho: Duke Ellington's "Jingle Bells."