Monday, 10 December 2012

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

We're well in to December now, the tree's up and decorated and if the weather forecast is to be believed the snow is just around the corner - so what better time for another selection of Christmas tunes?! I'd like to think this could become a festive blog tradition, but I'll hold off making it that yet in case I run out of songs next year! For now, though, here are some that I didn't cover in previous years. We start with some blues - not perhaps a genre usually linked to Christmas, but in this case I think an exception can be made especially when the singer is the delightful Bessie Smith. There's something quite upbeat and celebratory about her rendition of At The Christmas Ball, recorded in New York on the 18th November 1925 with Fletcher Henderson at the piano, despite its obvious blues tempo. Back in my first Christmas selection of 2010 I mentioned a 30th June(!) 1930 recording of the Savoy Christmas Medley, which I have on CD. I couldn't find the actual Ray Noble and the New Mayfair Orchestra version so used the original 1929 Debroy Sommers one instead but now someone has obliged and put up the Ray Noble/New Mayfair version, so here it is! Jumping forward almost four years - 17th April 1934 to be precise (what is it with so many festive songs being recorded in the middle of Spring/Summer?) - we get to spend Christmas Night in Harlem with Jack Teagarden, Johnny Mercer and Paul Whiteman's' Orchestra. The inimitable Artie Shaw doesn't disappoint with this cracking wintry arrangement from 1936. While searching for these music videos I stumbled across a bandleader new to me - Eddy Duchin. Quite popular in the 1930s and '40s, I've a feeling we would have heard more of him if his life hadn't been tragically cut short in 1951. As it is he and his band recorded two seasonal tunes (which unfortunately I can't date, although When Winter Comes might be from as late as 1947). Woody Herman and his Orchestra produced two cracking versions of classic Yuletide songs - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town from 1942 and Let It Snow another 3 years later. That's it for this year - I have to keep some in reserve for 2013, pre-1950s Christmas music is rare enough as it is!  Once again I couldn't have found half of these without the aid of YouTube and it's been a pleasant surprise to stumble across some more Christmas ditties that are new to me (and, I hope, to you). Here's wishing you all a jazzy Christmas!

1 comment:

Don't just sit there, type something! I enjoy reading all comments.


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