This year I'm going to feature some of my favorite holiday-themed jazz music every Friday. One of my favorites Wynton Marsalis’s Christmas Jazz Jam (iTunes) (Apple Music). Wynton, who I’ll cover another day in greater detail, is very much a traditionalist but as he’s got older, he’s also added more of a sense of joy and humor to his trumpet (in my opinion). This album fits in nicely. It’s jazz music that you could just play in the background while eating or, you could carefully listen to and have moments of delight. This album works both ways.
Some of my favorite parts are Wycliffe Gordon’s wild, reindeer-inspired trombone Solo on Santa Clause is Coming to Town and the Dixieland feel in Jingle Bells. You are going to either love or hate what they did with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but it makes me laugh out loud every time it comes on. Finally, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is classic, straight ahead jazz, and excellent. If you like Wynton, you’ll also want to check out his 1989 album, Crescent City Christmas Card (iTunes) (Apple Music), which is also pretty an excellent jazz holiday album.