-Special 2006 Edition of Classic Holiday Collection Premieres Four Newly-Recorded Never-Heard-Before Chris Botti Yuletide Tracks

Columbia Records released a new edition -- featuring four newly-recorded tracks and two brand-new songs -- of Chris Botti's best-selling seasonal album, December, on Tuesday, October 10.

Produced by Bobby Colomby, the yuletide 2006 edition of December premieres two new songs: a breathtaking interpretation of Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria," featuring the Choir of St. John's, Smith's Square, and "I Don't Really Want Much For Christmas" (featuring Eric Benét).

A full concert version of the critically-acclaimed "Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests," a viewer-grabbing highlight of this year's PBS Pledge Week, is also available now in a CD/DVD package or as a CD-only.

"Chris Botti Live with Orchestra & Special Guests," shot December 1 and 2, 2005, over a Thursday - Friday run at LA's fabled Wilshire Theatre, inspired the Los Angeles Times music critic Don Heckman to write, "It was apparent, from the first notes Chris Botti played at the Wilshire Theatre on Friday, that the sold-out house was in for a special evening...Botti's latest album, 'To Love Again' -- as well as the previously released 'When I Fall In Love' -- features extraordinary lineups of vocal guest artists. Six showed up for the concert -- Sting, Jill Scott, Paula Cole, Renee Olstead, Paul Buchanan and Gladys Knight -- along with Burt Bacharach...despite the inevitable audience excitement generated by the appearance of such vocal headliners and despite the artists' diversity of interpretations, it was Botti's virtuosic trumpet work, his inventive melody-making, his engaging onstage presence and his powerful band ...that ruled the evening..."

Chris Botti has been steadily developing a reputation as one of the nation's most compelling jazz artists. In a review of Botti's performance at the JVC Jazz Festival show at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times wrote," the blond, dapper Mr. Botti, from Portland, Ore., belongs to a long line of trumpeters who are also popular entertainers. His recent album, 'To Love Again' (Columbia), features…trumpet-and-voice collaborations with Sting, Michael Bublé, Jill Scott and (in the most unlikely team-up) Steven Tyler. Mr. Botti… and his band, whose main man, the pianist Billy Childs, alternated between synthesizer and acoustic piano, performed sprawling, echo-heavy arrangements of songs ranging from Leonard Cohen's 'Thousand Kisses' to 'Flamenco Sketches' from (Miles) Davis's 'Kind of Blue,' the classic record that started it all."

The newly expanded edition of December also debuts new versions of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Silent Night."

Chris Botti
Track Listing:
1. The Christmas Song
2. Ave Maria
3. Winter Wonderland
4. The First Noel
5. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
6. Hallelujah
7. I Really Don't Want Much For Christmas (featuring Eric Benét)
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
10. Silent Night
11. Little Drummer Boy
12. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
13. I'll Be Home For Christmas

-Columbia Records Releases Bette Midler's First-Ever Holiday Album, "Cool Yule"

Cool Yule, Bette Midler's first new album since 2005's Top 10-charting "Bette Midler Sings The Peggy Lee Songbook," draws its name and upbeat spirit from the 1950s hipster holiday song, penned by Steve Allen, revamped by Midler for her holiday collection.

Produced by Robbie Buchanan -- whose long-time association with Bette began with playing keyboards in "The Rose" band -- and executive produced by Jay Landers (Barbra Streisand, Julio Iglesias, numerous Disney soundtracks), "Cool Yule" is a swinging celebration of that merriest of seasons, with song selections covering the many moods of Christmas ranging from beloved carols ("O Come, O Come, Emmanuel") to classic pop ("Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "White Christmas," and an infectious medley of "Winter Wonderland/Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" sung with Columbia labelmate Johnny Mathis).

"Nearly every great artist eventually makes his or her imprint on this favorite time of the year," writes Jay Landers in his liner notes for "Cool Yule." "From Ella to Elvis, Sinatra to Springsteen and Bing to Sting, and of course, 'The King of Christmas' himself, Johnny Mathis. Each new season brings forth a fresh crop of music to create a soundtrack of snowy white... no matter if you live in Nome, Alaska or Gallup, New Mexico. Now add Bette to this esteemed list."

One of the world's best-loved and most versatile entertainers, Bette Midler has garnered accolades in all quarters of show business. She's earned four Grammy Awards including Song of the Year (1989: "Wind Beneath My Wings"; 1990: "From A Distance") and Record of the Year (1989: "Wind Beneath My Wings"); two Academy Award nominations, three Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and nine American Comedy Awards.

Her SRO tours have placed historically in the Top 5 grossing concerts in a calendar year. Ms. Midler has sold more than 14 million albums over the course of her career and holds 25 gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications from the RIAA for her albums and singles including her most recent gold album, Bette Midler Sings The Rosemary Clooney Songbook.

Cool Yule
Track Listing:
1. Merry Christmas
2. Cool Yule
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4. Winter Wonderland / Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Duet with JOHNNY MATHIS)
5. I'll Be Home For Christmas
6. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
7. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
8. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
9. Mele Kalikimaka
10. From A Distance (Christmas Version)
11. White Christmas

-"James Taylor At Christmas" - Classic Seasonal Music From A Classic Voice

Combine the most beloved, classic songs of the holiday season with the warm baritone of one of the most recognized voices in popular music, and this Fall will give fans reason to celebrate with James Taylor At Christmas. The 12-song collection of traditional and contemporary seasonal songs was released on Tuesday, October 10, on Columbia Records.

James Taylor At Christmas, includes Taylor's heart-warming version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," from the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," as well as the premiere of a new recording of Joni Mitchell's composition, "River." Special guest performances on the CD feature jazz trumpeter Chris Botti on "Winter Wonderland," legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) and with Natalie Cole on "Baby It's Cold Outside."

Ten of the album's 12 tracks are produced by the legendary jazz pianist/composer/arranger Dave Grusin. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," was produced by Russ Titelman, who first worked with Taylor on his classic 1975 release, Gorilla.

Taylor, who will hit the road this Fall for his critically hailed "One Man Band" Tour, has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and 5 Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970's Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning effort October Road (2002). He has won the RIAA's Diamond Award and is a Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer, a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and in 1998 was honored with Billboard's Century Award. Just this past February, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected James its MUSICARES Person of the Year.

James Taylor At Christmas
Track Listing:
1. Winter Wonderland (featuring Chris Botti, trumpet)
2. Go Tell It On The Mountain
3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
4. Jingle Bells
5. Baby, It's Cold Outside (featuring Natalie Cole)
6. River
7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
8. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (featuring Toots Thielemans, harmonica)
9. Some Children See Him
10. Who Comes This Night
11. In The Bleak Midwinter
12. Auld Lang Syne

-Grammy Award Winning R&B/Gospel Duo Mary Mary Combine Best Loved Traditional Carols & New Contemporary Gospel Christmas Music On Groundbreaking New Seasonal Album

Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell, the best-selling R&B/Gospel duo Mary Mary, are giving their fans "A Mary Mary Christmas," a brand-new spirit-filled album celebrating the Christmas holidays. "A Mary Mary Christmas" was released on Tuesday, October 10.

Produced by Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell for My Block Records, "A Mary Mary Christmas" combines best-loved traditional carols with some swinging new original Mary Mary contemporary gospel sounds to help celebrate Christmases present and future. (Erica's husband, Warryn Campbell also helmed the previous Mary Mary albums, the RIAA gold- and platinum-certified Thankful, the RIAA gold-certified Incredible and their 2005 self-titled album RIAA gold-certified Mary Mary.)

Last year, Mary Mary took home the coveted American Music Awards trophy in the Contemporary Inspirational Music category, adding to a growing collection of critical and popular kudos that includes a Grammy and numerous other awards.

The Grammy-winning R&B/gospel duo Mary Mary crossed over into Top 10 pop territory when the group's self-titled new album, released in July 2005, debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 best-selling album chart, the highest Top 200 chart position in the group's career. (Mary Mary's previous albums--2000's Thankful and 2002's Incredible--peaked at #59 and #20, respectively.)

When the album subsequently debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel album sales chart, the album became the best-selling Gospel debut of 2005.

"Yesterday," the latest single from Mary Mary, is currently the #10 record on Billboard's R&B Adult Airplay chart.

Tracks on "A Mary Mary Christmas" include:
1. 'Tis The Season
2. Only One
3. Merry Little Christmas (featuring Dontaé Winslow)
4. O Come All Ye Faithful
5. California Christmas
6. Still The Lamb
7. Call Him Jesus
8. The Real Thing
9. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
10. Carol Of The Bells
11. California Christmas Remix (featuring Damani)

Find lots more about Chris Botti here on Starpulse!
Find lots more about Bette Midler here on Starpulse!
Find lots more about James Taylor here on Starpulse!
Find lots more about Mary Mary here on Starpulse!