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Sound Ideas #16 - Christmas Jazz
Welcome to a celebration of Christmas Jazz, an adventure that appeals to the kid and adult in all of us. It's a rare treat that only comes around once a year, so grab a hot cup of something and dig these yuletide sounds.
Artist Track Album
Lambert Hendricks and Ross Deck Us All with Boston Charlie Jingle Bell Swing
Duke Ellington Jingle Bells Jingle Bell Jazz
The Manhattan Transfer Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Manhattan Transfer Christmas Album
Chris Ho Angels We Have Heard on High Christmas Jam
Brian Setzer Orchestra Nutcracker Suite Boogie Woogie Christmas
McCoy Tyner I'll Be Home for Christmas God Rest Ye Merry Jazzman
Ray Charles Winter Wonderland The Sprit of Christmas
Vince Guaraldi O Tannenbaum A Charlie Brown Christmas
Mel Torme Christmas Time Is Here Christmas Songs
Bob Dorough and Miles Davis Blue Christmas Jingle Bell Jazz
Heath Brothers Our Little Town (Oh Little Town of Bethlehem) God Rest Ye Merry Jazzman

Christmas is a special time of year. Whether it is the religious celebration of the birth of Christ or the secular end-of-year break, the memories from this time of year are punctuated with special music that few other celebrations entail. As a person of my age living in the San Francisco Bay Area there was a special treat that happened the afternoon of every December 25th on KJAZ-FM. Herb Wong would plays hours of some of the most creative jazz interpretations of Christmas music ever recorded. This took place every year until KJAZ went away in 1994. In my brief career in radio, December was a special time when I would attempt to pay homage to Herb for the joy that he brought me every year.

One evening when I driving the program director at KCHO back from dinner and one of our announcers was playing Ella Fitzgerald singing Frosty the Snowman and he saw the expression on my face and said, "you really like this stuff don't you?" I responded, "Of course I do." While he and many others may have considered Christmas jazz to just be a marketing gimmick, to me it was all the fun of jazz with all the fun of a special season. It can't help but bring out the child in everyone.

It's been 25 years since I spun a Christmas show; I think the time for another is a bit overdue. Enjoy! And if you want some more, check out this one from 25 years ago, and sample some of the comedy I spun alongside as well. I hope you enjoy these tunes as much as I have over the years. And if we are really lucky Herb Wong might spin some again this year on KCSM.