(function(h,o,t,j,a,r){ h.hj=h.hj||function(){(h.hj.q=h.hj.q||[]).push(arguments)}; h._hjSettings={hjid:104204,hjsv:5}; a=o.getElementsByTagName('head')[0]; r=o.createElement('script');r.async=1; r.src=t+h._hjSettings.hjid+j+h._hjSettings.hjsv; a.appendChild(r); })(window,document,'//static.hotjar.com/c/hotjar-','.js?sv=');
Frank Zappa Documentary
Frank Zappa Documentary
Frank Zappa Documentary

News

‘Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas’ With Classic Jazz Holiday Box

The set features four fabulously festive titles from Ella Fitzgerald, Kenny Burrell, Ramsey Lewis, and Jimmy Smith.

Published on

uDiscover Music image background
Verve Swinging Christmas packshot

Famed jazz label Verve Records and UMe have gathered some of the most-loved jazz holiday albums into the new vinyl box set Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, out now.

The box features four fabulously festive titles from the archives, comprising Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), Kenny Burrell’s Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966), Ramsey Lewis’s Sound of Christmas (1961) and Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ‘64 (1964) (also known as Christmas Cookin’).

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas has the First Lady of Song redefining such classic Yuletide staples as “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Frosty the Snowman” as only she can. The LP now marks 60 Christmases since its first release, during which time its appeal has only grown. “This is as good as jazz Christmas albums get,” wrote AllMusic in a retrospective review.

Last year, Rolling Stone placed Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas at No.1 on its 40 Essential Christmas Albums list, describing it as “superb” and praising Fitzgerald’s “exquisite phrasing and subtlety.” From the LP, Ella’s take on “Frosty The Snowman” now has its first-ever official video, a charming animated clip by Fantoons Animation Studio with Ella and Frosty in a winter wonderland storybook setting.

The other three albums in the box set, all instrumental, are receiving their first vinyl release since the 1960s. Master guitarist Kenny Burrell plays an eminently tasteful selection of carols, festive gems and soul/blues favorites on Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas. They include “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Away in a Manger”, “Mary’s Little Boy Chile,” “and “Merry Christmas, Baby.” JazzTimes said the record “was and is a landmark album,” and All Music called it “a must-have,” noting Burrell’s “pensive, meditative, precise playing.”

The Ramsey Lewis Trio’s Sound of Christmas features the great pianist along with bassist Eldee Young, drummer Isaac “Red” Holt, and string arranger Riley Hampton. All About Jazz said that the album, a highly accessible piece of holiday cheer at a lean 29 minutes, “avoids the overly reverent…in favor of songs [Lewis] can tear through with the brisk gait of a sleigh ride and the delight of a full stocking. His sensitivity to the tastes of the public served him well here.”

Hammond B-3 organ master Jimmy Smith delivers secular Christmas songs and traditional carols with the backing of a big band and several trios on Christmas ‘64. The LP was better known for decades as Christmas Cookin,’ following a 1966 reissue with that alternate title and artwork. “We Three Kings (of Orient Are)” is recast with funky, down-home energy and, noted All About Jazz, “it’s hard to believe that ‘Silent Night’ could ever swing as much as it does here.” The album regains its original cover and title for the first time in over five decades.

Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is out now, and can be bought here.


The full Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas tracklist is:

Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960)

Side A:
• Jingle Bells
• Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
• Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
• What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
• Sleigh Ride
• The Christmas Song
Side B:
• Good Morning Blues
• Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
• Winter Wonderland
• Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
• Frosty the Snowman
• White Christmas

Kenny Burrell — Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966)

Side A:

• The Little Drummer Boy
• Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
• My Favorite Things
• Away in a Manger
• Mary’s Little Boy Chile
• White Christmas
Side B:
• God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
• The Christmas Song
• Go Where I Send Thee
• Silent Night
• Twelve Days Of Christmas
• Merry Christmas Baby

Ramsey Lewis — Sound of Christmas (1961)

Side A:
• Merry Christmas Baby
• Winter Wonderland
• Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
• Christmas Blues
• Here Comes Santa Claus
Side B:
• The Sound Of Christmas
• The Christmas Song
• God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
• Sleigh Ride
• What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Jimmy Smith — Christmas ‘64 (a.k.a. Christmas Cookin’) (1964)

Side A:
• God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
• Jingle Bells
• We Three Kings (Of Orient Are)
• The Christmas Song

Side B:
• White Christmas
• Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
• Silent Night
• God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't Miss