Christmas Music I Like

Taking inspiration from Austin Kleon’s “Books I Like” page,  here’s a list of Christmas music you would listen to in 2015, if you were me.

“Santa Clause is Coming To Town” by Bill Evans

The quintessential jazz pianist interprets this classic Christmas tune in his characteristic style

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town – Trio 64 (1964)

“Greensleeves” by Coleman Hawkins

Greensleeves (or, What Child Is This) as interpreted by one of the finest tenor saxophone masters.

Greensleeves – Soul (1958)

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

A swinging version of this tune by another tenor master.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Gotham City (1981)

“Christmas Waltz” by Dianne Reeves

A brilliant collection of contemporary jazz musicians create a reggae-inspired groove on this Christmas classic.

Christmas Waltz – Christmas Time Is Here (2004)

“The Nutcracker Suite” by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

A wonderfully reimagined arrangement of pieces from Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet. It can be difficult to find the original album, so you can find it as the first nine tracks on the album Three Suites.

The Nutcracker Suite (1960) – Three Suites

“Jingle Bells (Bonus Track)” by Diana Krall

I originally heard this as a bonus track on Diana Krall’s Christmas Songs (2005). The fully orchestrated version of jingle bells with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra is great too, but Krall’s solo piano/vocal version can’t be beat.

Jingle Bells

“Snowfall” by Claude Thornhill

This tune is often performed with lyrics (written by Ruth Thornhill). This is the original instrumental version.

Snowfall – Snowfall Vol. 1

“Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring” by the Classical Jazz Quartet

An interesting premise, to take timeless “classical” compositions and interpret them in a jazz style. The artistry here is phenomenal and Bach’s “Jesu…” is a marvelous vehicle.

Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring – Christmas

Matt Wilsons Christmas Tree-o

Instead of picking an individual track, just listen to the full album. Warning: you’ll burn your ears off!

Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O (2010)