The days are getting shorter and at last, colder temperatures are setting in. All of these are unmistakeable signs that Christmas is around the corner, and that it is time to think about an appropriate soundtrack.
Contemporary Jazz Club was looking for some recent productions that we can recommend you. Don’t take us wrong, we love the Jazz Standards, and Christmas Jazz is a genre with plenty of great old classics. But there are a couple of fantastic Christmas Jazz productions around, all of which deserve our recognition.
Here goes our list of recommended Christmas Jazz Albums and Reviews, in no particular order.
A Mellow Jazz Christmas – a Compilation of Kind of Blue Records
This compilation of the Switzerland based Kind of Blue Label features eight groups. All of them were asked to records some Christmas tracks during their normal sessions, and the result is striking. Prominent examples are Phil Woods Quintet with “Sleigh Ride for One”, Stanley Clarke Trio with “We tree kings” or Eddie Henderson with “Silent Night, Holy Night”.
“A Mellow Jazz Christmas” is a truly sophisticated Jazz album that will get you into the right mood for the season.
Check Allmusic.com to get an impression.
Vintage Christmas by David Ian – Naxos Records
Toronto born Jazz Pianist David Ian released with “Vintage Christmas” a superb Christmas album with reinterpretations of eleven Christmas classics such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or “Christmas Time with You”. The arrangements of the Trio are simple and swinging, getting the classics down to their most basic elements, accompanying them with modest voices. Yet this album sets an example of how contemporary Christmas Jazz could sound like. These songs don’t fight for attention and won’t overwhelm you with virtuosity, but they will get you in a laid-back Christmas mood.
Check this sample song on Youtube
Winter Songs by Kirsty Almeida & The Troubadours – All Made Up Records
Gibraltar-born Kirsty Almeida is a quirky and very talented singer, producer and songwriter from Manchester. She gave up her deal with a major record label, to get full control and freedom of creativity for her work.
Now “Winter Songs” does not perfectly fit into the Jazz genre, but it is a fun collection of covers and own compositions that any open music mind will love. Be it on the lovely warming version of Joni Michell’s “River”, or on Maria Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you”, Kirsty’s creativity will conquer your heard.
Check this report from BBC to get to know more about Kirsty and her work.
Christmas Jazz by The Michaelmas Ensemble
Swinging, heartwarming and with a contemporary touch all famous holiday classics get reinterpreted here. The Michaelmas Ensemble is a sextet where most baseline melodies are carried by the piano or the saxophone. The singers voice is what you’d expect from a great Bar jazz entertainer. That album will not set a new shape of Jazz to come, but it will settle you comfortably in front of the open fireplace.
Christmas by The Classical Jazz Quartet
This group has an impressive line up which raises the attention of every Jazz aficionado: Kenny Baron on the piano, Stefon Harris on the vibraphone, Ron Carter on Bass and Lewis Nash on the drums. But it is not the well know Christmas classics that you are going to get here. This album is a skilled selection of Holiday Themes in Classical music instead. It sets off with Hallelujah from G.F. Händel, goes on with Jesu bleibet meine Freude from J.S. Bach, and finishes with six pieces of the Nutcracker Suite from Tchaikovsky. You get an album full of sophisticated Jazz reinterpretations of classical masterpieces here, not comparable to the well known Christmas classics.
Check Allmusic to get an impression.