If you want to slip some jazz into your Christmas swing you’ve come to the right place.
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Skating
Duke Ellington – Jingle Bells
Harry James – Brazilian Sleigh Bells
Tommy Dorsey – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Ella Fitzgerald – White Christmas
Glenn Miller – Sleigh Ride
Frankie Carle – Little Jack Frost Get Lost
Woody Herman – Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Artie Shaw – There Is Frost On The Moon
Louis Prima – Shake Hands with Santa Claus
Miles Davis – Blue X-mas (To Whom It May Concern)
Fats Waller – Swingin Them Jingle Bells
Billie Holiday – I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
We might not necessarily think of jazz or swing when it comes to Christmas music but that would be denying oneself a rare yuletide pleasure. Quite simply this genre of music is made for the rough and tumble of the holidays. There is a controlled fury about jazz, a certain sense of perpetual motion that just mimics what we all get up to over the 12 days of Christmas.
For all that very few of the songs that you’ll hear on this playlist get much attention in the mainstream, which is a shame given that the perennials often lose their lustre once December wears on. How could you resist the short yet endlessly uproarious ‘Brazilian Sleigh Bells’ from trumpeter Harry James? It may have come out in 1950 but it still sounds as sprightly as the first day it bounced from the studio speakers. Older still is the positively ancient 1936 rocket from Fats Wallers called ‘Swingin’ Them Jingle Bells’, a party starter if ever there was one.
If the thought of unfamiliar Christmas material turns you off don’t give up on these jazz numbers because there are plenty old favourites to fuel your chestnut roasting self. Like the piano tinkling greatness of Duke Ellington’s ‘Jingle Bells’ or Ella Fitzgerald’s sultry rendition of ‘White Christmas’. For us however it is the white knuckle ride offered by records such as Louis Prima’s 1958 ‘Shake Hands with Santa Claus’ that excites the most.