Winterland review

"The orange and palm tress sway / There's never been such a day in old L.A. / But it's December 24th / And I'm longing to be up north."

Not since Darlene Love spoke those melancholy words in her Phil Spector-produced version of "White Christmas" almost 50 years ago has anyone so well expressed the unusual flavor of the Yuletide season in the land of eternal sunshine. And now The Jigsaw Seen, whose core members Dennis Davison and Jonathan Lea are 25-year veterans of swimming upstream in Tinseltown's music scene, have cut Winterland, an ornately detailed dark side of the moon to Spector's 1964 album A Chistmas Gift To You. Santa Claus, sleigh rides and Frosty the Snowman have been replaced here by loneliness, isolation and depression. "What about promises? What about you and me?" trills Davison forlornly in "What About Christmas?" over a bountiful backing track hauntingly reminiscent of Love's classic 1968 album Forever Changes. - Jud Cost