That’ll Probably Do It for the Christmas Music…



I came home the day before yesterday to find a plain brown carton – from the Musical Heritage Society – on my front porch. I was like a kid at Christmas. See, I had ordered from the MHS clearance section. I got these six CDs for five bucks apiece! This will more than likely complete my Christmas music acquisitions for this year.

Joe Williams may be best known to many Americans as Claire Huxtable’s father on The Cosby Show. But before his daughter married Dr. Huxtable, Joe Williams had already made a name for himself as a great jazz singer. When I grow up, I want to sing Christmas songs like Joe Williams.

Tony Bennett’s Snowfall was first released in 1968. This remastered, repackaged edition probably ought to be in the rotation for your Christmas open house/dinner.

If you like jazz, and if you like Christmas music, find the Verve collection Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas. I was working late at the church office Wednesday night and I had this CD playing. When Ella Fitzgerald sang The Secret of Christmas…

So may I suggest, the secret of Christmas
It’s not the things you do, at Christmas time
But the Christmas things you do all year through…

…I was wiping a little dust. Good stuff!

Spike Jones. No, silly…not the one with a “z” in his misspelled name! The one with the City Slickers! You’d be hard pressed to find a more competent and talented bunch of musicians from the 1940s and 1950s. Thing is, their excellent musicianship was masked by the silliness of their stuff. Oddly enough, this Christmas collection reflects Spike Jones’s more “serious” side. Jingle Bells (in pig Latin!) and I’m Gettin’ Nothin’ for Christmas notwithstanding, this is a great Christmas CD. (Check the tight vocal harmony on Silent Night.)

In a former life, many moons ago, I was a trumpet player and all-around brass aficionado. There’s something about Christmas music and brass ensembles that is just right. The Canadian Brass enlists a few of their friends to make Noel wonderful. And did you know that they include the great Stan Kenton arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High? In the same vein, Christmas Fanfare is a little more “buttoned up” version of Christmas set to brass.

So, that’ll just about do it for me and my listening for the year. What about you? What music makes it really Christmas for you? Got any favorites? Any off-the-wall and out-of-the-ordinary Christmas music?