December 4, 2014


Christmas Jazz
Even though I celebrate Chanukah and not Christmas, I have always enjoyed Christmas songs...especially when reimagined by great jazz musicians.  So for this week's ATJ, I thought I'd share YouTube links to some of my favorites to help brighten your holiday.
Before we get to the music, let's start with the Father Jazz, Louis Armstrong, telling a story about Father Christmas (although Satchmo undoubtedly would have called him "Pops"):

Armstrong also sings about Santa in "'Zat You, Santa Clause?":

Hearing Vince Guaraldi's piano playing in the perennially popular TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" immediately puts even the grinchiest among us in the holiday spirit:

The Heath Brothers bring a modern jazz sensibility to "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem":

One great jazz singer (Mel Tormé) wrote a holiday classic that became a hit for an even greater singer (Nat Cole):

Wynton Marsalis put a hometown stamp on holiday songs on his "Crescent City Christmas Card" album.  Here he plays "Sleigh Ride" with a vocal from Jon Hendricks: 

Many other jazz singers have recorded their own albums of holiday songs.  Among the best are from John Pizzarelli ("Let it Snow"), Diana Krall ("Christmas Time is Here" from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" ), and Ella Fitzgerald ("What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?")
Even Charlie Parker got in the act, with this live recording of one of the most popular songs (holiday or otherwise) of all time, "White Christmas": 

Finally, we close with my favorite holiday jazz recording, from my favorite holiday jazz album: Dexter Gordon playing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas": 

Posted by at December 4, 2014 8:15 AM

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