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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

Christmas Gifts, Stocking Stuffers and More

Dec 11, 2017

Whether you are looking for a stocking stuffer, an Eighth Night of Chanukah gift, or just want to give yourself a cool present, here are some newly released holiday CDs that are worth parking under the tree or in the shadow of the menorah:

Podcast 605 will givr you a listen to Champian Fulton’s Christmas, With Champian which allows the underrated vocalist a chance to lend her talents to some Yuletide staples. I also give you a taste of Leslie Odom, Jr.’s Simply Christmas, which features the Hamilton alumnus in a soulful mood.

Dave Koz & Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas is the sixth holiday CD the smooth sax player has released. Joined by long time collaborators Rick Braun, Peter White and especially David Benoit, Koz has again carved out a special place in the jazz holiday pantheon.

If you like his sound let me point you toward Luke Sellick’s Christmas EP. The Canadian multi-instrumentalist is joined by singer Sheena Rattai for a few tunes, and the sole problem with the release is that it’s too darn short! C’mon Luke – let’s have a full CD next time! This is way too enjoyable for just a handful of tracks.

Herb Alpert has enjoyed something of a revival these past few years, and he brings together a 45 piece orchestra and 32 voice choir for The Christmas Wish. If it’s not the jazziest Herb has been, it is nice to hear that familiar trumpet sound on Christmas classics.

Lastly, Ultimate Christmas is not a new collection from Frank Sinatra, but it is a great sampler of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ holiday tunes. Particularly enjoyable are lesser played tunes like “I Wouldn’t Trade Christmas” and “A Baby Just Like You” That will be sure to make spirits bright.

But wait - a Chanukah Jazz CD? Really? Oh yes – Eyal Vilner and his Big Band have recorded a wonderful mix of Jewish, Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern and Brazilians sounds on Hanukkah, an album that uses traditional Hanukkah tunes as jumping off points for musical exploration. A real winner.