Music for the holiday season

  • 25 November 2015
  • 56 replies

I haven't seen such a thread here and it seems to be a good time to start one.

I doubt there is much value in suggesting the pop carols and tunes by all the usual suspects; I reckon that albums that are unusual and not in play everywhere all day and night will be more interesting.

That said, a first list:
1. Paolo Fresu, Jazzy Christmas - excellent trumpet playing
2. Another excellent trumpet album for the season is by Tine Thing Helseth, My heart is ever present
3. Kurt Elling kicks off the 15 songs album Blue Christmas, a Blue note selection
4. Nana Mouskouri's The Christmas Album has many well known songs with a twist as well as a few sung in French, German and Greek
5. Hot Club Cool Yule, Hot club of San Francisco
6. Have yourself a soulful little Christmas, Kenny Burrell
7 Six string Santa, Joe Pass
8. Let it swing: A Jazz Christmas with Verve
9. An Oscar Peterson Christmas

On the more religious side:
1. Catholic Latin Classics - Richard Proulx and the Cathedral Singers
2. Advent at Ephesus - Benedictines of Mary
3. On Yoolis Night - Anonymous 4
4. A Baroque Christmas - Boston Camerata
5. Veni Emmanuel - Classical Academic Press, all in Latin and all the better for that
6. Christmas Music from Medieval and Renaissance Europe - Sixteen and Harry Christophers
7. A Boston Camerata Christmas - Worlds of early Christmas Music

And a couple of different strings albums:
1. Christmas - Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, on the Indian Sarod. Christmas music on an Indian instrument, by a Muslim maestro, can't get more diverse or secular than that!
2. John Fahey's Christmas Album

If anyone has any new and unusual music for the holidays, please write about it here:-).

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56 replies

And some more good ones:
1. Hot Jazz for a Cool Night: A Jazz Christmas
2. Putumayo presents a Celtic Christmas
3. C'est Noel, Joelle Morris
4. Extravergine, Micheal Castaldo
5. A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert
6. Christmas Night - Carols of the Nativity, John Rutter
Nice thread Kumar! I'm going to check out a bunch of your suggestions. I own an embarrassing amount of Christmas music but not many of your suggestions.

1. The Believers: Christmas with the Believers
2. Matt Anderson - Spirit of Christmas
3. Bad Religion - Christmas Songs
4. Los Lonely Boys - Christmas Spirit
5. Charlie Byrd - Christmas Carols for Solo Guitar
6. VA- Trojan Christmas Box Set
7. VA - A Reggae Christmas

I want to throw this one in: El Vez ‎– Merry MeX-mas.
El-Vez is pretty much fun under the xmas tree!
I own an embarrassing amount of Christmas music
Welcome to the club:-), there are many members. And this amount will probably increase by virtue of this thread - that said, thanks to both of you for those suggestions.
I need to listen to Cheech and Chong’s “Santa Claus and His Old Lady” at least once during the season.
LOL..magic dust and brownies.

Lyrics, for anyone that's feeling blue:
Great thread, Kumar! Looks like I know where a chunk of my bonus check is going this year!
The unheralded Eddie Higgins jazz trio - piano, double bass and drums - have an excellent Christmas album as well, Christmas Songs. Many familiar songs that sound fresh when rendered by a great piano trio.

Also, a very good album from nagel heyer records, Christmas Jazz Greats: Swinging Tunes. Songs sung with interesting twists, backed up by classy small combo jazz instrumentation.
You, sir, have impeccable taste in music... in my opinion, of course. And, you just cost me another $18 on Amazon! 😃
Thank you,,,,and USD 18 is a small price to pay to be jolly:-)...but don't you have a radio service you can call up these albums on?
The 18 bucks included both albums, so I'm not complaining. Not sure if you saw the thread, but I'm the guy that takes Sonos in my RV, so internet streaming isn't an option on the road.
Ahh ok, understood. Mention of RVs now always brings Walter White, his sidekick and their RV antics to mind.

The unheralded Eddie Higgins jazz trio - piano, double bass and drums - have an excellent Christmas album as well, Christmas Songs. Many familiar songs that sound fresh when rendered by a great piano trio.

Unheralded in his native Chicago, although well known by visiting jazz musicians. He also had a huge following in Japan and other parts of Asia for several years, and toured there often. Superb musician.
The Eddie Higgins' Christmas Songs is a fantastic set... even my wife enjoyed it. Most of the tunes are up-tempo, and Eddie stays true to the jazz genre with bass and drum solos outside of the melody. Fantastic two album set.
If you like Eddie, check out Beegie. This swings pretty hard on several tracks.

Beegie Adair has a solo piano set that is appropriately called " Quiet Christmas", also very good.
He also had a huge following in Japan

I just now connected your avatar to the Venus records logo:-).

They have a lot of good music in the catalog. Very well recorded, but all the music seems to cater to a consistent listener taste, not a lot of edgy material. Digressing here just a little, I found some new interesting music there even so, from an artiste I did not know, Barney Wilen, New York Romance. Music that is familiar but different.

Japan has an affinity for jazz, though perhaps not as much as the French do. There are some excellent records of performances there, some of my best Monk music is live recorded there.
Some of the Venus album covers aren't bad, either, wink wink! 🙂
Yep, I wasn't sure how good the music would be at first, until realising that one hasn't anything to do with the other!
Some of the Venus album covers aren't bad, either, wink wink! :)

Heh. Nice!

Huge fan of Beegie... For decades! Her work is always consistent and never disappoints. Match made in heaven when she teamed up with Jack Jezzro for a couple, and with David Davidson. But nothing beats solo Beegie!
Forgot to mention... One of my favorite Christmas CDs is Beegie Adair's 'Winter Romance.' The instrumentation is movingly beautiful, her playing is stellar, and the song selections couldn't be more perfect. I always kick off the listening season with Frank Sinatra's 'Christmas Songs by Sinatra,' with 'Winter Romance' on deck. Only holiday tune that I don't care for is Santa Baby... but Beegie makes it tolerable for me here. 'Merry Christmas, Darling' by The Carpenters is my most favorite Christmas song, and Beegie takes it to a whole other level on this CD.
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Kumar just wanted to add how much my wife and I have enjoyed listening to Eddie Higgins Christmas Sings II this afternoon. Apppreciate your recommendation. Now need to try Beegie!
Apppreciate your recommendation. Now need to try Beegie!
Happy to help:-).

Eddie has another good album with Nicki Parrott singing on many tracks: Jazz Christmas. As is Parrott's own Winter Wonderland with notable jazz back up including Houston Person on some songs. By the way, for any Aussies here, Nicki has sung the only Jazz version of Waltzing Matilda that I have heard on her album Fly me to the moon. She is a rare singer in that she also plays the double bass on her albums. A unique voice that I prefer to have on shuffled playlists because I find it hard to listen to her for an entire album. Another entry in the Venus Records catalog.

I also like a couple of holiday CDs that have many Irish touches to them: Orla Fallon's Celtic Christmas and Moya Brennan's An Irish Christmas. Moya is Enya's sister and Enya has a holiday album as well but as with many of her songs, I found this also to be a case of "if you have heard her sing a couple of songs you have heard all her songs". Which is why the only song I bought from her album And Winter Came, is the Emmanuel song.