Independent DIA-CD-5605 (www.dianapanton.com)
If the post isn’t already taken, I’d like to nominate Diana Panton as Canada’s jazz sweetheart. With this, her fifth CD in about as many years, Panton firmly establishes herself as a steadfast source for pretty and accessible song collections. Though she works in the jazz realm and collaborates with some of the most respected jazz players in the industry – Don Thompson on bass and piano, Reg Schwager on guitar and Guido Basso on flugelhorn and trumpet – Panton takes quite a straightforward approach in her singing. She picks finely written pieces, usually from a few decades ago, and delivers them in an honest and endearing way. With Christmas Kiss, winter and holiday tunes get the velvet glove treatment. Although most will be familiar such as Winter Wonderland and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, there are a few lesser known selections such as C’est Noel Cheri and the title tune, written by Panton and Thompson. Dave Fishberg’s Snowbound epitomizes cool yet cozy comfort, especially with the addition of Thompson’s tasteful work on vibes. And for that perennial duet, Baby it’s Could Outside, R & B legend and fellow Hamiltonian, Harrison Kennedy, plays the role of the persuader. The CD release event is December 10 at the Old Mill Inn.