There is music for every occasion and the festive season is no exception. Every year new holiday recordings are added to the vast catalogue of wonderful albums for Christmas and every year we can go back to our old favourites. I will below introduce you to 12 of Christmas and Winter albums I love to listen to – 4 classics, for from recent years and 4 new ones. Enjoy!
Ella Fitzgerald / Wishes You a Swinging Christmas … is exactly what it says to be: a wonderful and swinging affair, a jazzy Christmas album from 1960 with incredible performances by Ella and the Frank DeVol Orchestra.
The Singers Unlimited / Christmas … a record from 1972 that is showcasing the incredible vocal skills of this group. Great arrangements, partly swinging, partly contemplative and excellent singing by Gene Puerling, Bonnie Herman, Don Shelton and Len Dresslar make this a festive hit.
The Swingle Singers / Christmastime (Noel Sans Passeport) …. One of the best vocal groups of their time and their take on Christmas – the tracks are usually medleys and are covering songs in various languages from around the world. Originally released in 1968, this is still outstanding and beautiful.
Spike Jones / Let’s Sing A Song Of Christmas … if you like your Christmas party to have the songs, but done differently – this one is for you! Jones’s sense of humour is incredible and the album makes you smile from the start (All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth) to the end. Musically impressive and fun.
Sting / If On A Winters Night …. A mix of traditional, classical and own songs, wonderful arranged by Robert Sadin, make this album the perfect record for the cold season, as it warms your heart.
Saxofour / Reindeer Games …. Reindeer Games (2002) is already the second album with Christmas material from the Austrian saxophone quartet featuring Klaus Dickbauer, Christian Maurer, Florian Bramboeck and Wolfgang Puschnig. Collective and individual play is outstanding and so are the arrangements. Instrumental joy!
Bugge Wesseltoft / It’s Snowing On My Piano …. Almost a classic already in Germany and Scandinavia, this 1997 solo piano album is hitting the charts every year – and deservedly so, as Bugge gives us beauty in sound. A perfect present.
Kurt Elling / The Beautiful Day …. As with everything Mr. Elling does, this is an album of touching quality and immaculate vocal performances. Released in 2016 it has become one of my all-time favourite seasonal recordings. Don’t miss this one!
The new ones
Rebekka Bakken / Winter Nights … traditional and modern Christmas songs, mixed with a handful of great originals for the season and as usual outstanding vocals by Rebekka, make this album a more than welcome addition to my collection. Just check out her own ‘Angels Never Sleep’ and her stunning version of ‘Last Christmas’.
Simone Kopmajer / Christmas … Austrian singer Kopmajer invited a few friends to record this traditional jazzy seasonal album and they obviously had fun recording, as the result is uplifting and charming. Check out especially ‘The Christmas Song’ featuring Allan Harris.
Jamie Cullum / The Pianoman At Christmas … Jamie Cullum, singer and pianist, came up with 10 new songs for the season … with big band and all bells ringing, these are great tunes that will enlighten your holidays. Love it!!!
Lauren Henderson / Classic Christmas … this stylish and deeply touching EP was recorded with pianists Issac Wilson and Sullivan Fortner, bassist Eric Wheeler and drummer Allan Mednard and the included 4 songs is all you need to get into the festive spirit.