David Sanborn – “Winter Wonderland”

I don’t know of David Sanborn covering any Christmas songs before, though I know he composed a song titled “Rain on Christmas.” Decca has a new, expanded recording of Sanborn’s latest Here & Gone exclusively on Amazon. It has three live songs recorded for XM Radio – “Full House,” “Brother Ray,” and “Winter Wonderland.” Give it a listen by clicking the widget below – “Winter Wonderland” is the last track. Buying it through this link benefits ContemporaryJazz.com

Straight No Chaser – Holiday Spirits

I remember when I first got the link to the Straight No Chaser video of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” I loved it. SNC is a 12-man a cappella group whose fun, inventive, live rendition of that song garnered 8 million views on YouTube.

The popularity of the video got the attention of a recording label honcho and now SNC has a recording on Atlantic Records. The 14 songs are familiar favorites like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “The Christmas Song” and a couple of originals. I thought covering Brian Wilson’s “Little Saint Nick” was a good choice.

I’ve been given a MP3 of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard on High” for you to download. Click the play button after the YouTube videos to give it a try. If you like it, right-click the link and save the file. You can buy the CD or DRM-free download from Amazon by clicking the shopping cart in the player.

The video that started it all:

The journey from Indiana University students to major label recording artists:

Straight No Chaser - Holiday SpiritsStraight No Chaser – Holiday Spirits – “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard on High”

Free Seasonal MP3 – Sean O’Bryan Smith

How do you get your music heard in the age of the Internet? How do you get people’s attention when there are countless web sites and no major jazz labels? What is working for me is free Christmas MP3s. I just discovered bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith. He has a free MP3 of “Let It Snow” at AllAboutJazz. Just register at the site and you can download a new MP3 there every day.

Free Joyce Cooling Christmas Song

Two of the greatest things in life: the year-end holidays and free music. Joyce Cooling is offering both – a free MP3 of her new original composition “It’s Feeling Like Christmas.” It’s a nice seasonal song. You can download it at Joyce’s site. No signing up for a mailing list or anything. Just download it.

Between this and her rendition of “The Christmas Song” from the GRP compilation Making Spirits Bright, she’s getting enough songs for a full holiday record, inevitably titled Joyce to the World. Just kidding.

Holiday Music Roundup Part 3: Remixes

I’ve been a fan of jazz remixes since I first heard the original Verve//Remixed. I guess it was a fad. I don’t see many anymore. I thought it was a good way to introduce younger generations to some classic jazz. However, some remixers completely destroyed any jazz element of some of the songs I heard.

This season, there are two remix projects for the holidays. When the first Verve//Remixed came out, I contacted Verve and said, with their vault, Christmas music would be ideal for a remix project. I didn’t think it could go wrong. Oops. Verve//Remixed Christmas is out now. From the samples I heard – it was not to my liking. It’s got the usual Verve roster that gets remixed – Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and so on. Coal in the stockings for some of these remixers – there is no holiday spirit to be found on this collection.

Check it out at Amazon
Sample/download from iTunes

If your taste is really into electronica, you’ll enjoy Christmas Regrooved 2. It’s hit and miss for me. Misses are most of the covers of classic carols. I love jazz-influenced electronic music but I’m missing the jazz feel here. Still, there may be something of interest. A jazz sound isn’t a goal of this compilation so I can’t judge it as such.

Sample/Buy CD or DRM-free MP3s at Amazon
Sample/download from iTunes

Catch up on the other holiday recordings I’ve posted about this season. Click the ‘christmas’ tag link in the byline.