Music can be a form of perfection - with nothing added or subtracted, flawless just the way it is.

Christmas Special

9. December 2012 Christmas, Jazz, Louis, Armstrong, Vince, Guaraldi, Wynton, Marsalis

There are many reasons why I decided to do a Christmas Special. For one, I LOVE Christmas. As a little kid, I used to count down days till Christmas and my birthday (which is near Christmas) one month in advance. I don’t do that anymore, but not much has changed since then. I’m still a little kid who gets giddy with excitement over Christmas. I can easily get into the Christmas spirit and I love it! For example a couple of days ago, the first snow of this winter inspired me to put on Christmas music and prepare some roasted nuts and mulled wine for my parents and my girlfriend, even though it was just the beginning of December.
And the reason I’m doing a Christmas special more than two weeks before Christmas, is because I’m sure there are plenty more people like me out there. Also, I want to give anyone interested in the albums I’ll be talking about some time to get them (getting them on Christmas Eve is too late).

I’ve been a fan of Christmas music for some time, but I was never able to find something good. Most of what I listened to, was of bad quality, it all sounded pretty much the same and it seemed like it was made in a hurry and with just money in mind. I guess that’s the sad part of Christmas music - it’s easy and cheap to make and everyone will try making it, which means there’s so much crap out there. But fortunately there’s also a lot of great heartwarming Christmas music, you just have to find it. Last year, as a combination of luck and frustration, I found a couple of Christmas albums which I just love and today, I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do and they will bring you some Christmas cheer.

The first one is my favourite Christmas album ever. Most of you will know it, but whoever doesn’t, should listen to it as soon as possible. Vince Guaraldi and his A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s a perfect combination of holiday playfulness, jazz, warm sounds and of course - Christmas spirit. It tastes exactly like those roasted nuts and mulled wine did. It’s on top of my ‘most played albums during holidays’ list. Below is a little taste of it. Now go and get it!

If we’re already at the more jazzy side of Christmas, I have to mention Wynton Marsalis’ Christmas Jazz Jam. This one’s a bit more demanding than A Charlie Brown Christmas, so it may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s a great album. It has many wonderful moments like Good King Wenceslas and O Little Town Of Bethlehem to name just two. Whenever I listen to this album I feel like it’s putting together two of my favourite things. Jazz and Christmas. Does it get any better than jazzy Christmas?

Still on Christmas with jazz, here’s Louis Armstrong & Friends doing What a Wonderful Christmas. When I first heard it, I was a bit disappointed to hear there are only 6 out of 14 songs by Louis. This makes it more of a compilation with a focus on Satchmo than an album done by him. Nevertheless it’s a wonderful album that’s easy to enjoy. It features names like Dinah Washington, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Louis Jordan and Lena Horne. All in all, it’s an even better combination than Christmas Jazz Jam - Jazz and Christmas AND Louis Armstrong! Just thinking about it, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The only thing that leaves you sad after listening to the album is that Louis Armstrong didn’t record more Christmas songs, because he’s so incredibly good at it. Here’s Winter Wonderland done by him. Listen and see what I’m talking about.

(Here’s a post about it in Ricky Riccardi’s blog)

That’s it for now but I’m not done yet. Next time I’ll continue with other great, maybe a bit unexpected but great Christmas albums. Until then, tell me, is there anyone else out there who gets excited over Christmas and Christmas music? What are your favourites?

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