Jazz Dispensary released "Holiday Treats" in limited edition red vinyl on Nov. 25.

Culture

Album review: Jazz Dispensary serves up ‘Holiday Treats’

Just in time for your Christmas parties or holiday prepping is “Holiday Treats,” the newest addition to the Jazz Dispensary collection series. It’s the perfect soundtrack for burning something besides the yule log to add to your holiday cheer.

This limited edition release (1,500 copies) features Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Electric Jungle, The Jive Turkeys, Kenny Burrell, Rotary Connection, Pharoah Sisters and more.

Pressed on candy-colored vinyl, this eclectic 10-track compilation comes housed in an eye-catching gummy-themed cover and delivers a healthy dose of the funky drum breaks, soulful grooves and far-out vibrations that fans of the Jazz Dispensary series have come to love. No booklet is included, but there is a printed insert with details on players, writers and producers for each track.

As the cannabis culture moves nearer to the mainstream with the legalization movement, this collection of music shows the direct link to a time when partaking was more discreet. Still, enjoying this compilation may have people lighting up more than Hanukkah candles this holiday season.

On first listen, the collection seems like a hip take on some classic holiday jams you know and love, but a few tracks are a subtle Christmas card to the weed culture that gave birth to the funk and soul of the genre. One of them is The Rotary Connection’s “Peace at Last,” which is actually about Santa getting high.

Elsewhere on the album, Pharoah Sanders’ “Prince of Peace” (the final track) is interesting because most think of Jesus as the “Prince of Peace,” but the lyrics of the song reference Allah. Apart from it being musically great, it conveys the idea of a universal peace through music and an idea of harmony between religions, a timely theme.

Juan Torres’ “Pueblito del Belen” (Little Town of Bethlehem) was originally released on the Musart label out of Mexico in 1972. It hasn’t been reissued in the U.S. on vinyl.

Booker T’s “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and Rufus Thomas “I’ll Be Your Santa Baby” give groove to those beloved holiday gems.

The LP was made available for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event and is a great gift for the discerning music lover on your list.