If you are into guitars then the Merry Axeman that Steve Vai produced is excellent.
Merry Xmas and Happy Listening.
Merry Xmas and Happy Listening.
There are a couple of albums, with Keith Harring graphics on the covers, which contain X-Mas songs covered by contemporary artists. I have them on LP, but they must have been released on CD as well.
Both are nicely recorded/performed and great fun to listen to.
Ours are in storage (can't look up the label), but they should be easy to find on a web search.
As we also celebrate the Jewish holidays in our household I have been collecting Shlomo Carlebach recordings to play this year (only have two LP's so far). Shlomo is an awesome performer that my wife turned me onto (never heard of him before).
Besides The Blind Boys (which is excellent), new this year is a Moody Blues disc "December" and a Jethro Tull (can't recall the title). My personnal favs are more traditional though, A Robert Shaw Christmas, Angels On High (Telarc) and Christmas Night, Carols of the Nativity by The Cambridge Singers and John Ritter (Collegium).
I'm a lover of Christmas music and have about 20 CDs of it. But the two I keep returning to again and again, year after year, are (1) Joy to the World, Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus, on RCA (recorded 1971-72), and (2) Joy to the World, Richard Condie conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble and Percussion (and organ), on CBS/Sony (recorded around 1970). Both feature arrangements by Arthur Harris, who gets my vote as the all-time champion arranger of Christmas music. I won't make any claims that they have state-of-the-art sound, but if you like traditional Christmas music, I think you'll love these. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD has the most beautiful "O Come O Come Emmanuel" you will ever hear.
Here are two gems, not easy to find:
1. Etta James, "Twelve Songs of Christmas" (Volume 1);
This is an audiophile quality CD. Appropriately heavy, but tuneful bass, great dynamics. Excellent piano from Cedar Walton, and absolutely superb horn arrangements make this CD special, IMO. Then, there is Etta's sometimes hoarse, gravely, past-her-prime voice which works, even when she mangles some French lyrics on "O Holy Night", her presentation is so subtle and controlled, yet full of emotion, that it could get a few atheists to convert. She does all the standards, some in her normal blues repertoire. Others are done in their typical ballad form. Overall, a highly-nuanced interpretation by Ms. James. This may be one, if you can find it, that you'll want to take out and play not just in November and December. This is some of Etta James best work ever.
2. "A GRP Christmas Collection" -
A Christmas sampler put out by the label who were in the forefront of Smooth Jazz revolution, including performances by Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Lee Rittenour, Dave Valentin, Tom Scott, David Benoit, Gary Burton, Kevin Eubanks and Dianne Schuur, among others.
Not the type of jazz which I ordinarily listen to, but it works here. Great sound, like the Etta James CD. Mine is a promotional copy, not for sale, which I picked up in the very early 90's. Don't know if it was ever sold commercially.