This week for Jazz Friday, I’m featuring the Bill Evans’ cover of Santa Claus is Coming to Town from 1964. This is a weird track. It’s the only Christmas tune buried on Evans’ Trio 64 album released in January 1964. I’m guessing it is a live recording from the holiday season of 1963. They probably played it for giggles and then decided to put it on the album because what musician isn’t at least a little interested in holiday music residuals?
Anyway, to continue the weirdness, the song starts with this odd, loping, off meter melody. Go ahead and tap your foot to the beginning of this song. I dare you. Then it gets a more straight ahead feel, including a most excellent bass solo by Gary Peacock. The whole thing is quintessential Bill Evans. It’s so easy to cover traditional holiday music. I like it when musicians decide to mix it up a bit and this track does that.
I’m going to cover some more holiday jazz through December but if you’d like to cut to the end, here’s my Jazz Yule Apple Music playlist. Enjoy