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Top 12 Jazz Christmas Albums – (and another dozen too!)

| November 23, 2012 | 10 Replies

I love Christmas and I love Jazz.  Frankly, I love most Christmas music, but I listen to the jazz renditions of it the most (no surprise there for those of you that know me…).   There are very few postings available on the Internet about this VITAL and ESSENTIAL mix of Christmas and music genre, so I’ve decided to post and share the albums that I most enjoy during the Christmas and Holiday Season.

Each of the albums that I list will include a couple of links, if possible, one to Amazon to purchase the album if you would like (no, I don’t include any kind of affiliate links or get anything back from them) and one to Spotify -where you can enjoy these amazing jazz charts and songs IMMEDIATELY.  I’ve also included one MASSIVE Spotify List of all of these at the end of this post; this, all-inclusive playlist, will provide hours on end of Christmas Jazz Enjoyment! – I suggest using the “shuffle” play feature while listening to it! :)

Lastly, please note that I tried to avoid Christmas compilation albums in these listings as there are so many now (some are indeed great though!).  You will find that these selections are not indicative of any genre of jazz, but include examples of most of the jazz genres from New Orleans-style Combo music through Big Band and into the Modern and Smooth Jazz genres.  There is certainly something in these lists for everyone to enjoy!

As always, please feel free to comment about these lists or add your own favorite jazz Christmas albums into the comment section below.  I look forward to the discussion.

My top 12 favorite Jazz Christmas Albums (alphabetical order):

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  2. A Merry Christmas with Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  3. A Merry Christmas (Stan Kenton)
    Find it here on Amazon 
    Play it here on Spotify 
  4. An Oscar Peterson Christmas
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  5. Crescent City Christmas Card (Wynton Marsalis)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  6. Duke Ellington – Three Suites, First Nine-Tracks: The Nutcracker
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  7. Ella Wishes you a Swinging Christmas (Ella Fitzgerald)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify:
  8. Jazz Piano Christmas (Beegie Adair)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  9. Merry from Lena (Lena Horne)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  10. Silent Nights (Chet Baker)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  11. Sound of Christmas (Ramsey Lewis)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  12. Six String Santa (Joe Pass)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify

Another Bonus Dozen of the Best Jazz Christmas Albums (alphabetical order):

  1. A Dave Brubeck Christmas (Dave Brubeck)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  2. A New Orleans Christmas Carol (Ellis Marsalis)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  3. A Smooth Jazz Christmas (Dave Koz)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  4. Christmas Cookin’ (Jimmy Smith)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  5. Christmas Jazz Jam (Wynton Marsalis)
    Find it here on Amazon
    NOT available on Spotify
  6. December (Chris Botti)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  7. My Kind of Christmas (Dean Martin)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  8. Heaven and Nature Swing (Phil Driscoll)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  9. Peace Round (Yellowjackets)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify 
  10. The Charlie Byrd Christmas Album (Charlie Byrd)
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  11. Trio West Plays Holiday Songs
    Find it here on Amazon
    Play it here on Spotify
  12. Wonderful Christmas (Louis Armstrong)
    Find it here on Amazon (Note: Slightly different album than Spotify)
    Play it here on Spotify (Note: Slightly different album than Amazon)
And a Double-Bonus of Two more:

Although I intended to stay away from any type of “various artist” compilations with this post, there is one album that I absolutely love and play every year it’s called Christmas With the Rat Pack – it’s fantastic Find it Amazon here and Spotify here.

Finally, though not jazz, but rather “new age” -thus I put it here in the double-bonus area of my post, I also play this album constantly: George Winston’s December.  It paints such a cooler, pitcuresque scene of winter, and if you appreciate solo piano and Christmas, you will certainly appreciate this smooth album as well. Find it on Amazon here and Spotify Here.

Find all of these (well most of them) in a single Spotify Playlist for you to enjoy for all of the Christmas Seasons to come:

Enjoy!  Please feel free to spread this post and my playlists.  

If you like something that I haven’t listed here, PLEASE post about it in the comment section below.

Special End of Post Bonus (because you read this far!):

I recently found this Bossa Nova Christmas Gem by Jack Jezzro; it’s a keeper.  Find it here at Amazon – Play it here on Spotify.

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Category: Everything Else, Featured, Joseph's Posts

About the Author ()

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Fine Arts at Grove City College, PA and the Vice President of TI:ME. He also writes for DCI Magazine, In-Tune Monthly and has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
  • http://www.mustech.net/ Dr. J. Pisano

    Please start the Jazz Christmas Album Discussion right here! :)

  • Lynn Purse

    Great lists, Joe! I have a few of them, don’t know many of them but plan to add some that you’ve recommended. Here are 3 of my favs: Take Six’s “He Is Christmas” (this group sounds great live in concert) and the now defunct GRP label’s Christmas Compilations, Vol. 1 & 2, lots of very hip jazz fusion treatments of Christmas tunes. Enjoy the music of the season!

  • http://twitter.com/brandtschneider Brandt Schneider

    Ellington arranged a lot of standard Christmas tunes as well (Jingle Bells, etc…).

    Also the Charlie Parker christmas album is “not bad”.

  • http://www.mustech.net/ Dr. J. Pisano

    Thanks Lynn! I have the earlier GRP Christmas Album. I checked on Spotify for the other and it turns out there are 3 of them! Very cool. I’ve added them both to my “listen list”! :)

  • Phil Hartman

    Thanks Joe!! I’ve been shuffling the entire playlist on spotify all weekend. I have several of the albums but love the entire playlist. Thanks for taking the time to put it together!

  • http://www.mustech.net/ Dr. J. Pisano

    Thanks for commenting Phil, I’m glad you are enjoying it! :)

  • tsatryan

    Great list and great post!

    If I were to add some, here are a few that make my best-of Christmas Jazz playlist -

    Peace Round – Yellowjackets
    Remembering Christmas – David Benoit
    Snowbound – Fourplay
    Christmas in Swingtime – Harry Allen
    Christmas in Hollywood – Plas Johnston
    A Swingin’ Christmas – Tony Bennett & the Count Basie Big Band

    …by the way, you had GREAT influence on my daughter, Jessica, when she was a student at GCC. Thanks! Have a most happy and blessed Christmas!

  • http://twitter.com/BillSeaver Bill Seaver

    Good list. Just subscribed to the Spotify list. I discovered Kenny Burrell’s “Have Yourself a Soulful Christmas” last year and have fallen in love with that album. Coolest version of The Little Drummer Boy I’ve heard.

  • mschmaldienst

    Hey there Joe P….GCC Grad Mike Schmaldienst here…funny to run across this while looking around for good Christmas jazz. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Jimmy Smith – Christmas ’64

    Kenny Burrell – Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas

    Skafish – Tidings of Comfort and Joy:A Jazz Piano Trio Christmas

    Harry Connick Jr. What A Night!

    Bill Augustine & Malcolm Cecil – A Merry Jazz Christmas

    John Conahan – A Fender Rhodes Christmas

  • Darkjunebug

    Usually I listen to Pandora but am unhappy with their Christmas Jazz station. After reading your recommends and seeing some of my favorites there, I decided to subscribe to Spotify and your playlist. I love this music. Thanks so much and have a cool Christmas!

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