Holiday Jazz Songs
1. Jingle Bells
This fun animated video illustrates the joy of the holidays, with the full big band sounds of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra leading the way.
2. Sugar Rum Cherry
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn arranged the Nutcracker ballet suite for jazz big band, taking familiar themes and rearranging them in new ways.
3. White Christmas
Charlie Parker transforms this standard holiday song into a bebop style with the help of trumpeter Kenny Dorham and drummer Max Roach.
4. Sleigh Ride
Ella Fitzgerald makes every word count in this version of Sleigh Ride, by focusing on rhythm and accenting each vowel.
5. Twas the Night Before Christmas
Wynton Marsalis narrates the classic Christmas story with musical accompaniment to help paint the picture of Santa Claus coming down the chimney, as if in a picture book.
Watch Wynton Marsalis read the story with music accompaniment:
6. Joy to the World
Brubeck's harmonic sense and chordal motion helps to carve out a stirring version of Joy to the World, with bell-like improvisations.
7. Christmas in New Orleans
Louis Armstrong nostalgically sings and plays trumpet in a traditional New Orleans style to reflect on his roots.
Pianist Ahmad Jamal creates the imagery of snowflakes scattering through the air with his light touch and spiraling lines.
Listen to Ahmad Jamal play, "Snowfall":
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant joined forces with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to present this holiday classic in a sentimental way, bending and holding out syllables for emphasis.
Listen to Cecile McLorin Salvant sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas":
10. Christmas Song
Vocalist Mel Torme, whose nickname was the "Velvet Frog," composed "Christmas Song." In this version, Torme's pure vocal tone narrates the story with a laid-back feel.
Listen to Mel Torme sing "Christmas Song":
Have a happy holiday and a Merry Christmas!
Please visit my jazz poetry blog, "Without a Poem", where I improvise a new poem everyday! I also share jazz music and art there, so stay tuned!
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