Music Review: Rahsaan Patterson- The Ultimate Gift



Christmas songs redone in the R&B idiom have been popular since Stevie Wonder recorded “Someday At Christmas” in 1967. Rahsaan Patterson’s deft styling of old soul and twenty-first century urban pop has made him one of the more interesting voices of the last twelve years. He is always vulnerable in revealing his emotional self and fearless in his unscripted musical direction. That personal creed stays and makes good on his first Xmas album The Ultimate Gift. There are three traditional songs and seven original ones co-written Jamey Jaz and with Van Hunt. “Holiday” kicks off the festive theme with keys that resemble blinking decorative lights and even more keys phrased funky to start a party despite there being no snow in LA. Patterson’s R&B chops have a gospel twang and the youthful qualities of a young Michael Jackson or Ralph Tresvant. “Angels Sing” has the gracious lilt of any Quincy Jones’ jazz and R&B symphonic composition except a simmering guitar moves across Patterson’s falsetto. Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” keeps the reverb-heavy effects but utilizes the ubiquitous auto-tune treatment with drums and synthesizers from Prince circa 1999. A kind of remix of “Deck The Halls” takes place with “Peace And Joy’s revamp of the famous “Fa La La La La” in a soulful humanitarian plea mindful of Wonder’s many love fests. And fluttery winds from more angel wings fly through a celestial space with the most important wishes of “The Ultimate Gift” to end racism and greed. Secular but still concerned with the spirit Patterson’s Xmas party acknowledges the Messiah’s accepted birthday in a soulful mishmash of holiday classics morphed into newness.