Dec 21, 2011
Two of our greatest living pianists, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, contribute dueling keyboards on this wonderful modern interpretation of a Christmas chestnut. Recorded in 1969 with a nonet, that included trumpeter Woody Shaw, studio guitar legend Al Caiola, and onetime Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy, the track can be found on the Jingle Bell Swing compilation CD.
The tune is Welsh, likely dating back to the sixteenth century, and belongs to a winter carol, Nos Galan. In the eighteenth century, Mozart used the tune to "Deck the Halls" for a violin and piano duet and, later, Haydn in the song "New Year's Night." The repeated "fa la la" is taken from medieval ballads and used in Nos Galan, while the remaining lyrics are American in origin, probably dating from the nineteenth century.