Laurence Hobgood’s “Christmas”
We’re on the record: the world needs another Christmas music collection about as much as another porno clip. We’ve got plenty. What more needs to be added, what else can be said on the subject of Christmas songs that hasn’t already been said wonderfully well by hundreds — thousands? — of others? Pianist-arranger-composer Laurence Hobgood, until recently the celebrated collaborator of jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, thinks differently. After hearing his new collection “Christmas,” we’re glad he does. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in twelve keys. A symphonically dense “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” that sounds like Tchaikovsky on ‘shrooms. Joni Mitchell’s “River” — with Mr. Elling making a valedictory appearance. This is unlike all the Christmas albums that have come before it. No reiterations, many inventions.