Saturday, December 16, 2006

a swinging christmas

The holidays are prime party season, so I thought I would share some of my jazz favorite CDs sure to match the mood.

Ella Fitzgerald – Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960) (iTunes) The best jazz voice ever combines with perfect arrangements to make this a must own album. It is hard to pick favorites, but if pressed: “Good Morning Blues,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” “Let It Snow,” “Frosty” and an amazing “Winter Wonderland.”

Winter Wonderland

Joe Williams – That Holiday Feeling’ (1990) (iTunes) Joe Williams sung with Count Basie and has a silky smooth baritone. For That Holiday Feeling’ he adds a serious horn section: Joe Wilder, Clark Terry, Al Grey, Bobby Watson and Frank West. It is getting harder to find but it is worth the effort.

Let It Snow!

Oscar Peterson – An Oscar Peterson Christmas (1995) (iTunes) The master on piano with David Young on Bass, Lorne Lofsky on guitar and Jeffy Fuller on drums. Dave Samuels on vibes and Jack Schantz on flugelhorn join with solos.

Away in a Manger

The Ray Brown Trio – Christmas Songs (1999) (iTunes) Bassist Ray Brown and friends swing the classics. Examples are Diana Krall on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town;” Etta James with “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear;” Dee Dee Bridgewater on “Away in a Manger;” and, Kevin Mahogany with “The Christmas Song.”

The Christmas Song

Ella, Joe and Ray – you are missed.