From “The Christmas Waltz” to “White Christmas,” one of the quirkiest yet most unifying truths about American culture is the remarkable fact that all the best secular Christmas songs were written way back when by Jewish songwriters. If you’re Jewish and have always felt a bit guilty about loving “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Home For The Holidays” “Silver Bells” and “The Christmas Song,” you’re in good company with Broadway Star and Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Famer Jack Ehrenreich.
A child of Holocaust survivors who grew up with a secret love affair with these tunes, he boldly draws attention to the cool dichotomy by calling his delightful, easy swinging new holiday album with the Roger Kellaway Trio A Treasure of Jewish Christmas Songs: A Cool Jazz Tribute to the Jewish Songwriters. Ehrenreich, whose casually elegant, intimate and slightly sandpapery voice has the immediate warmth of Tony Bennett’s, first explored this theme in his critically acclaimed, hit Broadway show “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn” – so he’s remarkably at home with these 13 gems we can sing by heart.
Alternately spritely and gently intimate, Kellaway’s arrangements hardly re-invent the wheel but somehow magically serve the singer’s voice perfectly throughout. As an added bonus, the liner notes list the real, often quite identifiably Jewish names of the songwriters.