With the end of year holiday season fast approaching I’m holding back on my word count and have focused on assembling two playlists, a selection of Christmas associated tunes stretching the jazz vibe to its limits- from Oscar Peterson to James Brown.

I’ll post a second, much longer playlist which I’ll post ahead of the New Year celebrations which will be packed with six hours of music all at the funkier end of the jazz spectrum.

It occurs to me that jazz only becomes a mainstream musical offering in the run up to Christmas when shops, airport lounges, supermarkets and the full gamut of retail environments pump out loop tapes of smooth jazz. Retail researchers clearly associate smooth jazz with the urge to spend-that is maybe the only thing to be said in its favour. It is also one of the reasons why I shop my Christmas presents online!

Gabriel Latchin – I’ll be home for Christmas

As you might expect I have avoided the cheesier end of the jazz at Christmas experience. And as you would equally expect, or suspect, there is little here that is musically challenging or experimental-that will be for another day. But I hope you find much to enjoy and a few buried treasures in my selection. Including,

A rare live, bootleg recording of Charlie Parker playing White Christmas
Etta James getting down and dirty in her seasonal contributions
Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s aptly named We FREEE Kings
Bobby Timmons swinging Deck the Halls as if he was still sharing the bandstand with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers
A very early recording of Ella Fitzgerald and 30’s teen idol Louis Jordan swinging the life out of Baby It’s Cold Outside
In the words of Duke Ellington

I hope you do enjoy

Etta James – 12 Songs of Christmas