Dec 11, 2014
2014 has been something of a lean year for Christmas Jazz releases. While in past years I have had close to a dozen CDs to showcase, this year only three new releases, and one expanded reissue are worth pointing out to those who are shopping for seasonal sounds.
However, the quality is most DEFINTELY here.
Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield has become the standard bearer for New Orleans jazz over the past few years, and this year released A New Orleans Creole Christmas. Crediting the CD to The Jazz Playhouse Revue in honor of his residency at the Jazz Plyhouse in the Hotel Sonesta in New Orleans, Mayfield selects favorites old and new, and whips 'em up Nawlins-style. The band is Irvin Mayfield – Trumpet; Derek Douget - Soprano andTenor Saxophones; Jason Marshall - Baritone Saxophone; Vincent Gardner – Trombone; Jon Chin – Piano; Peter Harris – Bass; Adonis Rose – Drums; Michael Watson - Vocals and Ronald Markham – Piano.
Detroit label Mack Avenue has been cultivating its brand with a Mack Avenue Superband, and now a label-wide release of Christmas tunes called It's Christmas on Mack Avenue. Slections run from a Django-style "Skating" from the Hot Club of Detroit to the wistful clsoing number "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by Cecile McLorin Savant. Special kudos to Aaron Diehl for acompanying her and chipping in a few tunes of his own, especially "Christmas Star".
If it's Christmas, its time for another Dave Koz holiday release. This year it's 25th of December, a "Dave Koz & Friends" release that showcases R&B vocalists. Dave shows a bit more restraint than in some other years, especailly when he lets the likes of Jonathan Butler or Indai.Arie set the tone.
Lastly, we have the expanded version of Rosemary Clooney's Irving Berlin's White Christmas. In adition to the tunes she made famous in the titular film with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, there are previously unreleased recordings from her radio show that are more than an exercise in nostalgia. Crooner heaven!
Podcast 460 features tunes from these CDs, including these selections:
Irvin Mayfield – “Winter Wonderland” and “Christmas Time is Here (Trio Version)” from A New Orleans Creole Christmas
Dave Koz with India.Arie and Trombone Shorty – “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” from 25th of December.
Sean Jones – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from It’s Christmas on Mack Avenue
Christian McBride Trio – “Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto” from It’s Christmas on Mack Avenue
Rosemary Clooney – “White Christmas” from Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Expanded Edition).