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  • Writer's pictureAlasdair Bruce

Christmas albums to jazz up your festive season

The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington’s repertoire extends far beyond just playing and composing jazz; he also composed pieces for film and orchestra. Using this depth of skill, Ellington undertook the ambitious task of interpreting Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker for jazz; a feat he and his band executed with silky ease. The unlikely meeting, or “parley”, as Ellington called it, of Ellington and Tchaikovsky - two greats of their genres - culminates in a subtle and smooth album to score your festivities in style.

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald

What better way to let the spirit of Christmas wash over you than by listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s pure voice? Starting with the foot-tapping, playful pulse of Jingle Bells, the “First Lady of Song” transports listeners to a crackling fireside with her album of festive favourites. Unlike Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas, her second and final Christmas album - Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas - is a secular gift of the iconic singer’s twinkling voice to all those searching for Christmas cheer!

Kenton’s Christmas by Stan Kenton & His Orchestra

Stan Kenton & His Orchestra traverse traditional Christmas carols and hymns with their album A Merry Christmas! (1961), renamed Kenton’s Christmas in 1970. Beyond the undertow of nostalgia carried by the shrill trumpets, there is a progressiveness that was idiosyncratic of Kenton’s style. This is an album that will whisk you back to the festive giddiness of childhood.


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