Holiday Shows on ContemporaryJazz.com Radio!

In addition to some Christmas music sprinkled in the ContemporaryJazz.com Radio playlist, there are two new shows you’ll want to listen to.

Sean Miller’s Jazz Pulse program is back and ContemporaryJazz.com Radio has it! Starting in early 2009, you’ll be able to hear it each week but the Jazz Pulse Christmas music program will be playing at times throughout this week. On the show: Brian Culbertson, David Sanborn, Al Jarreau, Jimmy Smith, Al Di Meola, Herb Alpert with Jeff Lorber, Steps Ahead, Spyro Gyra, Michael Franks, Special EFX, and Elgin Wells.

I’m putting together a show that spotlights new contemporary jazz holiday music as well as some of my favorites. You’ll hear the new seasonal sounds from Spyro Gyra, Bob James, David Sanborn, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Joyce Cooling, and Dan Baraszu & Joseph Patrick Moore. I’m pulling various cuts from a number of recordings from my collection for the show as well.

Both shows will run on Christmas Eve, beginning at 8 p.m. CST and again on Christmas Day at noon CST.

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.

Holiday Music Roundup Part 1: Vocalists

I began looking up the various jazz seasonal recordings when I first learned about the new Christmas recording from Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. I’ve gotten a good number and am breaking them into separate posts. Here are some of the singers who have new holiday recordings out this year.

Al Jarreau – Christmas. An all-new recording on Rhino. From the Rhino site: “Album highlights include Jarreau’s instantly classic takes on beloved tunes including “The Christmas Song,” “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Cherished Christmas traditions further come alive with his inspired versions of “Come All Ye Faithful,” “Carol Of The Bells,” “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Gloria In Excelsis,” a sacred song used in the Roman Catholic Mass.”
Buy the CD / DRM-free MP3s at Amazon
Download it from iTunes

Singer Erin Bode has a new Christmas-themed release out titled It’s called A Cold December Night. The only information on it so far comes from the great St. Louis Jazz Notes, which says it’s due in November.

Bob James & Hilary James – Christmas Eyes. I don’t know anything about this other than it’s Bob and his daughter, singer Hilary James, in a Christmas recording produced by Kevin DiSimone (Hilary’s hubby). From the track list, it looks like a mix of familiar carols and original songs.
Buy the CD at Amazon

Harry Connick, Jr. has recorded a third holiday collection – What A Night! A Christmas Album
Buy the CD at Amazon

I only know of one Tony Bennett holiday recording where he’s the headliner and that’s amazing considering his long career. A Swingin’ Christmas is new from Tony with Count Basie Big Band.
Buy the CD / DRM-free MP3 at Amazon
Download it from iTunes

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones Holiday Recording

Christmas music from Santa Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is coming on September 30. Jingle All the Way is the first collection of holiday music from the long-standing band. It features everything from banjo-harmonic arrangements of “Christmas Time Is Here” and “River,” to a Tuvan-inspired, worldbeat rendition of “What Child Is This / Dyngyldai.”

“We always imagined we would do a holiday album,” Fleck said in a statement. “When the Flecktones first got together, we worked out a Christmas medley; it was really fun. People loved it, and we continued to play it every year.”

Order Jingle All the Way now from Amazon.com

Jingle All the Way isn’t the first seasonal work from Bela Fleck. He previously recorded “White Christmas” with Bob James for the Warner Bros. Jazz Christmas PartyWarner Bros. Jazz Christmas Party CD years ago.