Holiday Jazz Music??

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Boplicity, Dec 9, 2001.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    You guys have helped me in the past identify music and I know you can come through for me this time too.

    Hubby and I ate brunch in a restaurant that was playing the sweetest Christmas jazz. I asked the waiter the album, but as luck had it, the music was from a pre-programmed satellite feed. Also the waiter was no jazz-ophile, so he couldn't even hazard a guess as to the group playing the music.

    To help you identify the music, the songs were both secular and non-secular standards. What stood out was the excellent acoustic bass. No one instrument dominated, so it wasn't a "trumpet" album or a "jazz guitar album" or a "piano" album per se, but more of a collaborative group effort not featuring any one talent. There were no vocals. I'd say the group had four or five members. It wasn't "big band" but not a trio either.

    I have several jazz Christmas albums but none of them come close to this. Most of mine either feature a jazz artist such as the Kenny G albums or are compellations of various artists such as "Jazz to the World" and "Jingle Bell Jazz."

    Got any ideas? I have to have this album.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm not sure, but you've reminded me of another Christmas disc I love-
    Wynton Marsalis' Crescent City Christmas Card.
    The tunes are both Religious & 'secular'-
    "Carol Of The Bells"
    "Silent Night"
    "Little Drummer Boy"
    "Let It Snow"!
    "Jingle Bells"
    "We Three Kings"

    The band is a little larger than a 4-tet/5-tet.
    It's a Wynton album, BUT, it sounds like a band(not trumpet + backing group). There's also some 'Guest Vocalists"(Kathleen Battle & Jon Hendricks).
    Reggie Veal is the bassist & he has a nice, sweet, PHAT tone on this recording.
    The vibe on this album? After the recognizable head is played, the band goes into Jazz-ville(you wouldn't know it's a Christmas tune during the solos). ;)
    I dunno, JO...if you like KOB, you may like this(in any event, thanks for reminding me!). ;)
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Thanks for that suggestion, Jim K. I went right to to check it out. Oddly enough I had spent nearly four hours on Amazon this afternoon painstakingly searching through their entire inventory of Christmas jazz, listening and moving to the next. In spite of the effort, I never came across the Marsalis album until you mentioned it.

    It isn't quite what I had heard in the restaurant. I think what the restaurant had was "smoother." I DO like the Marasalis album however! Who knew Kathleen Battle could sing jazz! I love the acoustic bass in the five miserly samples we are permitted to hear.

    My search this afternoon netted me some other albums of note that I'll suggest here for the two or three of us who like our Christmas music jazzy.

    Playboy's Latin Jazz Christmas
    Verve's The Very Best of Christmas Jazz
    Smooth Jazz Christmas by David Koz and Friends
    Groovin' Jazz Christmas
    An Indigo Christmas
    Jingle Bell Jam
    MaxJazz Christmas
    Guitar Christmas by Jimmy Ponder
    Cyrus Chestnut's version of A Charlie Brown Christmas

    It will be tough to narrow that down to a few choices. Of all the albums I believe the Indigo jazz album comes closest to what was played in the restaurant, but any of these, plus the Marsalis album would make me very happy and would be worthy additions to my holiday CD collection.

    As a side note, for what it is worth, my husband does not like his Christmas music jazzed up. He likes it traditional and fifties-style....Ray Coniff, Percy Faith, Johnny Mathis, etc. Just sayin'. Each to his own when it comes to taste in music.
  4. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I vote for the original "Charlie Brown Christmas" by Vince Guarldi (sp?)... I'm a Peanuts fanatic, and this music just flat out is Christmas for me...

  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Rllefebv, evidently you are not alone in your assessment. Some of the reviews at of Chestnut's "Charlie Brown Christmas" say his version is good, but the Vince Guaraldi Trio original is still the very best.
  6. we got the Squirl Nut Zippers - Hot Christmas, its a swing style/jazz type affair, but it's really fun to listen to.
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Check out the GRP christmas albums, too. Very nice stuff, and lots of variety. Sounds like what you're asking about.
  8. Yes, the GRP Christmas CDs are excellent.

    But I, too, prefer Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas as THE best, jazz or otherwise.

    I also really like the Mannheim Steamroller CDs, but that's wandering away from the jazz thing. :)
  9. I have this one.
    Everyone is ultra Smooth.

    This is a good one for the Blues Lover.
    Charlie Musselwhite's Version of Silent Night will bring a tear to your eye.
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    yes get the Vince G. trio, you won't be dissapointed.
  11. Tuck Andress' Hymns, Carols, and Songs About Snow is pretty freakin' solid, too. I'll listen to that album on July 15th when it's 102 degrees outside!

    On a personal note, Tuck Andress is my guitar god (but Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot are right there next to him!). This album and his other solo record, Reckless Precision, are both incredible.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Oh, yeah, Tuck Andress is just an insanely amazing guitarist. I love his wife Patty's voice, too. I had no idea he has done a Christmas album...or Joe Pass either. I'm going to check both out at Amazon.

    I actually did buy the Alliagator blues Christmas album several years ago and it is a favorite part of my collection.

    To Danny Adair, I'm like you. I sometimes get a hankering for Christams music about mid-summer. I listen to a little of it, then that is enough to carry me until Tahnksgiving.

    Also, about five years ago I bought a GPR Christams jazz album, but I wasn't much interested in jazz then, so the album was a disappointment. It got sorted down to the back reaches of my CD collection. However, I might feel entirely different about it now and I'll dig it out. It might be a very pleasant surprise.
  13. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Well, that was so much fun! I checked out both Tuck Andress and Joe Pass's excellent albums and went on to surf many others. That's because Amazon has this ingenious thing in which they link to other "similiar" albums and you end up all day long checking out CDs to buy.

    I found several more jazz Cds of interest, but in the process discovered the one that prompted this thread in the first palce. I am so excited. It is Oscar Peterson's "An Oscar Peterson Christmas." Amazon is offering it at a slightly reduced rate if you buy it with another very gratifying album, "Christmas with the George Shearing Quintet."

    I also discovered a Dave Brubeck Christmas album. He is playing solo, not with his quartet which seems like an opportunity lost, but nonetheless, this is an enchanting album. Reminds me of the type of piano music one would hear played live in a very expensive restaurant.

    Finally, I must comment that I had simply NO IDEA of the wealth of jazz holiday music available. There is enough for Ken Burns to do an entire jazz holiday show and only just scrape the subject. I am really pleased so many jazz musicians have taken Christams standards and given them their creative improvised twists.

    Here's a prediction. When Diana Krall finally decides to put out a full holiday CD and not just a three song mini CD, she will sell a monster amount of CDs, maybe even more than Kenny G did with his two holiday albums. Has anybody noticed it is her "Man with a Bag" song that is in the background of a Target ad running on TV this week?

    Thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions on interesting jazz holiday CDs. I wish I could buy them all.

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