Household Ink; November 2008
Songwriter, vocalist, and celebrated trumpeter Nate Birkey succeeds yet again with his collection of holiday standards and classics. While no part of Christmas is glaringly forward-thinking or over-the-top creative, Birkey’s sweet croon and imaginative tempo changes make the album both a beautiful listen and a comfortable seasonal companion. The jazzy, piano- and horn-filled arrangements are plenty approachable, calling out to Harry Connick Jr. while still staying true to the jazz greats from whom Birkey has always drawn his inspiration. Highlights here include the smooth, lingering jazz progressions on “Christmas Time Is Here,” the lounge-y and solo-heavy “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and the timeless (and beautifully piano-and-bass-driven) “O Tannenbaum.” For those averse to the idea of yet another holiday disc, we guarantee that Birkey’s contribution will surely become an instant classic.