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Jim Caruso's 12 Days of Christmas... Leslie Odom Jr. Will Be Home for Christmas

I'm pretty sure there's nothing Leslie Odom, Jr. can't do. This recording of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" perfectly shows off his good taste, style and that exemplary voice. The song is, of course, an American classic, with lyrics by Kim Gannon and a melody by Walter Kent. Gannon wrote it from the point of a World War II soldier stationed overseas, telling his family that he'll be home for the holidays, and to prepare the Christmas fun. Of course, the last lyric is one of the most melancholy ever written - "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams." When the song was first pitched to folks in the music business, it was roundly refused, since it all seemed incredibly sad. But Bing Crosby smartly threw caution to the wind and recorded the tune, with immense success. Interestingly, after the lyricist's death, he left the royalty rights to the American Heart Association, which has benefitted greatly ever since.

Jim Caruso's 12 Days of Christmas... Leslie Odom Jr. Will Be Home for ChristmasJim Caruso made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning Liza's At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. He has won six MAC Awards for his nightclub appearances, performed with the New York Pops in a tribute to Kander & Ebb, performed with Rosemary Clooney in a celebration of Bing Crosby, and sang songs of Hope & Crosby with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall. Jim was honored to sing with Barbara Cook at President Clinton's First State Dinner at the White House. For the past fourteen years, he has hosted the weekly showbiz bash "Jim Caruso's Cast Party" at Birdland, Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and across the globe. He also produces the Broadway at Birdland concert series and has a weekly segment on Legends Radio 100.3 FM called "A New York Minute with Jim Caruso." As a crooner, he performs regularly with Billy Stritch at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel. His two cds, "The Swing Set" and "Caruso Live and In Person" are available online.

Over the next few weeks, you can catch Jim hosting Cast Party every Monday at Birdland, and singing at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel every Sunday. He'll be joining his pals KLea Blackhurst and Billy Stritch in "A Swinging Christmas" at The Long Center in Austin, and for the seventh year in a row at Birdland during Christmas week.
Photo Credit: Bill Westmoreland

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