All I want for Christmas is a crapton of jazz
December 22, 2017 6:20 AM   Subscribe

These eight albums from the 1960s will put the jazz in your jingle, the soul in your Solstice, and the bop in your Boxing Day: The Ramsey Lewis Trio - Sound of Christmas (1961), More Sounds of Christmas (1964) *** Jimmy McGriff - Christmas With McGriff (1963) *** Jimmy Smith - Christmas '64 (1964) *** Don Patterson - Holiday Soul (1964) *** Bobby Timmons - Holiday Soul (1964) *** Kenny Burrell - Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas (1966) *** Duke Pearson - Merry Ole Soul (1969)

Bonus: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The One-Offs
Paul Bley, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus (1953)
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (1960)
Dave Brubeck Quartet (1962)
Bill Evans Trio (1964)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (21 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you!
posted by freakazoid at 6:25 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I absolutely adore the instrumental "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" off that first Ramsey Lewis album. So incredibly funky. I've often thought that if I ever start up doing Youtube movie clip mixes again, the first one I'd try is one with 1970's urban Christmas scenes (starting with "The French Connection") set to that tune.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Diggin' it.
posted by JanetLand at 6:34 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

A little while ago I was sitting around with a few of my fellow music nerd friends and we were all trying to remember the first jazz song we liked. After I ran through trying to remember the first time I heard classics like "Take Five" and "So What" I realized that *of course* it was "Linus and Lucy," which I didn't even realize was jazz when I first heard and fell in love with it at the age of 5 or thereabouts.

The only idea I had for our wedding that my wife nixed was walking back down the aisle after the ceremony to this song; she likes it just fine but doesn't share my lifelong love of Peanuts.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:48 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thank you! I needed more tracks for my Christmas On The Rocks Spotify playlist of vintage Christmas tunes (most via the Ultra-Lounge compilations).
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:00 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Christmas With The Believers - The best Christmas Jazz record you've never heard. It was posted here on the Blue a few years ago.
posted by COD at 7:08 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

Ethan Iverson wrote a nice article on Guaraldi and his classic Charlie Brown Christmas album.

I was amused by this, which I mentioned in the Monk thread:

The strong upbeat that begins the ostinato might be somewhat hard to hear correctly, at least for those unaccustomed to a syncopated style. I’ve played “Linus and Lucy” at least a hundred times at parties over the years, and somebody always claps along in a way that indicates he or she hears the upbeat as the downbeat.

The sheet music does show it as beginning on the downbeat in the first bar; after that, it's always syncopated. I checked the record and sure enough, that's how it is. Maybe that helped to confuse the party clappers.
posted by thelonius at 7:14 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

This list is incomplete without Deck Us All With Boston Charlie performed by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.
posted by dannyboybell at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Great timing. Just last night I went to see a local jazz trio perform the entire Charlie Brown Christmas Album live, complete with a children's choir, and it was fantastic. It really rekindled my love for that album.

I knew about the Ramsey Lewis albums and the Bill Evans, but most of the others here are new to me. Looking forward to exploring them this evening with a couple of cocktails.
posted by rocket88 at 7:51 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is wonderful. Thank you.
posted by mkhall at 8:50 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jimmy Cliff's "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" from Christmas '64 (aka "Christmas Cooking") has the best intro of any Christmas song, ever. I imagine it as the opening to a stylish 60s TV show about Santa's secret group of spies/detectives/bodyguards, known as the Merry Gentlemen.
posted by xil at 9:54 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

My go-tos are (besides Charlie Brown Christmas):

The Christmas Collection (YouTube playlist) - various artists, recorded between 1953-1970

Yule Struttin' - A Blue Note Christmas (recorded between 1953-1990):

1. Bobby Watson and Horizon - Vauncing Chimes
2. Stanley Jordan - Silent Night
3. Lou Rawls - The Christmas Song
4. Eliane Elias - I'll Be Home For Christmas/Sleigh Ride
5. Chet Baker - Winter Wonderland
6. Benny Green - A Merrier Christmas
7. Dianne Reeves - A Merrier Christmas (video unavailable)
8. John Hart - O Tannenbaum
9. Count Basie - Jingle Bells
10. John Scofield - Chipmunk Christmas
11. Joey Calderazzo - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
12. Dexter Gordon - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
13. Benny Green - Silent Night
14. Rick Margitza - The Little Drummer Boy
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:14 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

*snap snap snap*
posted by stillmoving at 10:35 AM on December 22, 2017

My wife asked our Google speaker to play the Nutcracker Suite. After a few seconds, it gave us the Duke Ellington version.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 12:25 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

A really nice post; thanks. One 1960s jazzman you might not think would produce a Christmas song – Sun Ra. There must be Christmas on the outer planets! (B side bonus track: Happy New Year to You! as well.)
posted by LeLiLo at 12:49 PM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

> Jimmy Cliff's "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" from Christmas '64 (aka "Christmas Cooking") has the best intro of any Christmas song, ever.

It's a great cut, but it's Jimmy Smith. I can only imagine what Jimmy Cliff would do with "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" (though I'd love to find out).
posted by languagehat at 1:32 PM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oops! I saw both Smith and McGriff, got distracted, and ended up with someone else entirely.
posted by xil at 7:45 PM on December 22, 2017

For more soul Xmas songs try Booker T and the MGs In the Christmas Spirit
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:48 PM on December 24, 2017

Yule Struttin playlist
posted by rebent at 4:29 AM on December 25, 2017

I added a couple of new albums to my Christmas playlist this year that are jazzy enough to belong here. Lou Rawls Christmas has had me snapping my fingers all season. The other is A Christmas Album by the California Guitar Trio which is way more laid back, but is a solid instrumental choice for a Christmas party or whatnot.

It's gospel rather than jazz, but another album I added this year and have really enjoyed is Christmas with Mahalia by Mahalia Jackson.

P.S. I have been meaning to make this comment for more than a week, but I was away from my desk until Wednesday and the rest of the intervening days were consumed by locusts. I apologize for the tardiness, but maybe these can help for next year.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:49 PM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older R.I.P. Keely Smith   |   X-Men Comics, X-Tremely Condensed Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments