Holiday Reviews & Articles


Book Excerpts

Misty: The Music of Johnny Mathis

Read "Misty: The Music of Johnny Mathis" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

The following is an excerpt from the chapter “Songs for the Season: The Christmas Albums" from Jakob Baekgaard's Misty: The Music of Johnny Mathis (Sonicbond Publishing, 2022). Songs for the Season: The Christmas Albums Every music genre deserves to be treated with respect, but that isn't always the case. Christmas music seems to incarnate both the best and worst aspects of the music industry. At its worst, it's a tactless celebration of commercialism, and at its best, it has ...


Album Review

Louis Armstrong: Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule

Read "Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule" reviewed by Chris May

Plenty of jazz fans loathe “holiday" albums, defined as many of them are by cheap sentimentality and fake bonhomie. If the eggnog does not make you retch, the tackily jazzed-up Christmas carols will. But Louis Armstrong's Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule is an exception. Armstrong himself was exceptional. As Duke Ellington observed, “He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way." Consider something else... Armstrong smoked weed pretty much every day of ...


Album Review

Richard Williams: Hollywood Christmas

Read "Hollywood Christmas" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Ready or not, Christmas music is on the way. And this is Christmas music, old school. Do you remember The Andy Williams Christmas Album? Then, as the old joke goes, there may be fire in the hearth, but snow on the roof, because that was 1963, at least the first version. This recording, for sure, is a walk down memory lane and will produce a lot of nostalgia in listeners of a certain age. For some folks, that ...


Bailey's Bundles

November 2022: Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration

Read "November 2022: Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Lyn Stanley Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration A. T. Music 2022 Vocalist Lyn Stanley ironically calls her ensemble the Big Band Jazz Maverick when it is she who is the maverick, the evidence being how seamlessly she expands the holiday canon on Novel Noël: A Jingle Jazz Celebration. Over the past decade, Stanley has done two significant things: one, she has methodically and with carefully considered concepts addressed in the Great American Songbook, ...


Radio & Podcasts

Hard Sledding

Read "Hard Sledding" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Like musicians in every genre, jazzers can't resist the lure of making Christmas and/or holiday themed albums from time to time. Some of the efforts turn into timeless classics. But let's be real—most of 'em don't. We talk about two recent efforts, an oddity from the 'ninties, and one of Capitol records many repackaging of their back catalog for holiday commerce. Straps yourselves in, elves. Playlist Discussion of the album A Capitol Christmas featuring various artists (Capitol) 6:25 ...

Radio & Podcasts

There Will Be Christmas - More Holiday Releases Plus A Salute To Winter Solstice

Read "There Will Be Christmas - More Holiday Releases Plus A Salute To Winter Solstice" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

This broadcast presents more music to celebrate the season, with new releases from Kat Edmonson, Deb Bowman, Carolyn Lee Jones and The Bird & the Bee, with birthday shoutouts to singer pianist Una Mae Carlisle (protege of Fats Waller), celebrations of the Winter Solstice and more. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by purchasing their music during this time of pandemic so they can continue to distract, comfort and inspire. Playlist Javon Jackson “Santa ...


Album Review

The Pete Ellman Big Band: The Twelve Grooves of Christmas

Read "The Twelve Grooves of Christmas" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

As we enter the Holidays, the airwaves and digital streams flow with seasonal fare of all types of genres. And, once we ring in the New Year, said music heads back into hibernation until the next Thanksgiving and December roll around. The Pete Ellman Big Band's The Twelve Grooves of Christmas is such a fine recording that it might not be surprising for listeners to listen to it year around. The effort is that good. This high-energy ...


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We'll return next year with another round of polls including favorite vocalists, saxophonists, trombonists and trumpet players. Until then, you can view the results to all our polls, here.

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