Dec 1, 2019
If you are looking to find some new music for celebrating the Yuletide, please allow me to provide you with a cross-section of new or recent releases that will help make your spirits bright. Podcast 715 is nearly an hour of music from the following artists and albums, many of which may have flown beneath your radar as you look for new tunes:
Dave Koz with Jonathan Butler - "It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas" from Gifts of the Season. Check out Podcast 713 for comments from Koz and Friends on this album and his current Christmas tour, which co-stars Michael Longton, Butler, Melissa Manchester and more.
Noelle & Maria - "Do You Hear What I Hear?" from Merry Christmas, My Dear. Pianist/arranger Noel Freidline and vocalist Maria Howell collaborate as "Noel & Maria" to bring a seasonal classic to life in a new way.
Michael Lington - "Last Christmas (feat. Philippe Saisse)" from A Foreign Affair Christmas. Vibes and Smooth Sax make this version of the Wham! tune a jazzy joy.
Kandace Springs - "(Everybody's Waitin' for) The Man with the Bag" from Holidays Rule Vol.2. This compilation of various genres of music came out a couple of years ago, but Ms. Springs has been a talked-about singer since her latest Blue Note release. Check her out.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis - "What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin') (ft. Catherine Russell) from Big Band Holidays II. JALC has put out a couple of fine Christmas albums over the past few years - this one, with a few songs by Grammy-Nominee Catherine Russell is among the best.
Robyn Hale - "Christmas Go Away." Tongue in cheek? Who knows! But this track it would go great after the Miles Davis/Bob Dorough classic misanthropic anthem "Blue Xmas" on a mixtape or playlist.
Lake Street Dive - "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" from Holidays Rule Vol. 2. The music of these former Berklee School of Music students is impossible to categorize, but this mambo-ed up version of the kid classic fits perfectly on a jazzy playlist.
Dave Stryker and the Eight Track Band - "Christmas Time is Here" from Eight Track Christmas. Check out Podcast 705 to hear more of this top notch album and about the great guitarist behind the music.
John Basile - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" from Silent Night. Another great guitar player has released a super selection of Christmas tunes with a Brazilian lilt, digging deep for songs like "Toyland" and "A Child is Born."
Peter Curtis - "The Christmas Song" from Christmas With Your Jewish Boyfriend. More about this talented guitarist and this really fun album, which picks only Christmas songs written by Jews, in a podcast coming soon. But pick it up now.
Brenda Brown - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Life Among Giants. Perhaps my favorite Christmas song gets just the right amount of pathos from the talented Ms. Brown.
Michael Lington - "O Holy Night (featuring Russ Freeman" from A Foreign Affair Christmas. Enjoy another track from Michael's CD, this time with a smooth solo by Rippingtons veteran guitarist Russ Freeman.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis - "O Tannenbaum (ft. Aretha Franklin) from Big Band Holidays II. Actually a wonderful solo performance by Aretha on piano from back in 2015, but never released until now. Hard not to get a bit misty hearing that voice once again.
Jonathan Butler - "I'll Be Home for Christmas" from Merry Christmas to You. We began with Jonathan joining Dave Koz, and we close with a track from his own Christmas album. His sound is so unique that it makes even the tiredest Christmas song seem fresh and vibrant.