Jazz as Intercultural Christmas Music

Jazz + traditional Christmas songs = Intercultural music

That's why I have always loved Christmas music outside the normal traditional versions of pop standards, and Christmas Standards.

I love Holly Cole's versions of Christmas Blues, Please Come Home for Christmas, and Baby It's Cold Outside.

Vanessa Williams has an exquisite version of “What Child is This” as well as “Go Tell It On the Mountain/Mary Had a Baby.”  African-American Gospel music blended with traditional Christmas standards means a swinging Christmas.

Diana Krall can swing Christmas with Jingle Bells, Christmas Time Is Here, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas on her Christmas EP.  She also released a version of “The Man With the Bag” on her US “Target” edition of her “Look of Love” album.

I love the old Motown Christmas songs, especially Stevie Wonder's “One Little Christmas Tree,” and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  And the Jacksons singing “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” for me, beats Brenda Lee's version any time.

Jose Feliciano's “Felix Navidad” was always a favorite in our household, as we grew up.  It just doesn't sound right when I hear Celine Dion singing it.  But Celine sounds great singing Christmas songs in French.

And then there are the Cheiftains – grand holders of celtic tradition, and more recently of cultural fusion.  I love their recent albums blending celtic music with Spanish, Brittany, Nashville Country (Another Country and Old Plank Road) and Canadian Maritimers (Fire in the Kitchen).  The Bells of Dublin is a fine Christmas cd with Canadian musical guests Colin James and the McGarrigle Sisters. 

Christmas music: It's themes are universal, no matter what musical language it is performed or sung in.

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