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Holiday Jazz CDs

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Damn, it’s barely October. Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year.

Well we here at JazzTimes have given up and decided to give you all the news on upcoming Christmas releases so that you have a good three months to prepare. The staff has followed suit as we’ve already begun to drink gallons upon gallons of eggnog as this piece is being written.

The Yellowjackets have taken time out of their busy schedule to record a yuletide collection of songs titled Peace Round: A Christmas Celebration (pictured). The wildly popular “rhythm and jazz” quartet, featuring keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, saxophonist Bob Mintzer and drummer Marcus Baylor, deliver a particularly festive collection of classic tunes, purposely recorded in a relaxed and peaceful manner to fully capture the essence of the Christmas songs. Here’s the tracklisting for the Yellowjackets’ Peace Round:

1. “Little Drummer Boy”

2. “Silent Night”

3. “Deck The Halls”

4. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

5. “Peace Round”

6. “The First Noel”

7. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

8. “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”

9. “Winter Wonderland”

10. “In a Silent Night”

The disc will be released on October 7 and can be preordered via the group’s Web site,

But you want an even jazzier Christmas, right?

Six Degrees ( is set to release a cool compilation of standard Christmas tunes remixed by some of today’s hottest electronica and hip-hop producers. The record includes a pretty sick Dan the Automator remix of Dean Martin performing “Jingle Bells.” This one will be released on October 21 and is comprised of the following:

1. Andy Williams “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (A Shrift Remix)” 2. Bing Crosby “Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix)”

3. Dean Martin “Jingle Bells (Dan the Automator Remix)”

4. Kay Starr “I’ve got My Love to Keep me Warm (Stuhr Remix)”

5. The Cathedral Brass “Joy to the World (Mocean Worker Remix)”

6. Johnny Mercer “Winter Wonderland (Ise Ashen’s Brazilian Beach Remix)”

7. Charles Brown “Merry Christmas Baby (MND Remix)”

8. The Berlin Symphony Orchestra “The Nutcracker Suite (Baz Kuts Breaks Remix)”

9. Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton “Baby It’s Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix)”

10. Duke Ellington “Jingle Bells (Robbie Hardkiss Remix)”

11. Bing Crosby “The First Noel (Attaboy House Remix)”

12. Mel Torme “The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Remix)”

Still not enough? Well what better way to celebrate the season than a compilation of standard and original Yuletide jazz compositions?

Jazz legends Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, David Liebman and John Coates Jr. lend their services to The Reasons for Christmas. The album takes full advantage of the notable jazz performers who make their way through the Poconos area each year. The album also features relative unknowns from the area.

And in the true spirit of Christmas, proceeds from the album will help to benefit the grassroots organization Pocono Area Transitional Housing. PATH provides shelter to families who are homeless as a result of domestic violence or other life crises.

Hark! The track listing for The Reasons for Christmas:

1. Bob Dorough “Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If Christmas Came”

2. Phil Woods “White Christmas”

3. Jesse Green “On Christmas Day”

4. John Coates, Jr. “Silent Night”

5. Bobby Syvarth “An Extra Prayer”

6. The David Liebman Group “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

7. Vicki and Eric Doney Band “Let’s Make Each Day Like Christmas”

8. Nancy Reed and Spencer Reed “Gifts For The Children”

9. The Gaptime Ensemble “Good King Wenceslas”

10. Gary Dillon “Waiting for Christmas”

11. Calliope and the Water Gap Brass “Pastoral”

For more information on PATH and/or the CD, visit

And finally (for now), Eric Reed makes his MaxJazz debut with Merry Magic. The CD features a solid lineup of musicians-Eric Reed, piano, organ, vocals; Rodney Green, drums; Barak Mori, bass; Steve Nelson, vibes; Erin Bode, vocals; Paula West, vocals-and 13 holiday tunes to make your spirit bright:

1. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleman (Traditional)

2. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Coots/Gillespie)

3. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith)

4. Angels in the Snow (Reed)

5. Santa Baby (Javits/Springer/Springer)

6. Low, How a Rose E’er Blooming (Praetorius)

7. The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells)

8. Little Drummer Boy (Davis/Onorati/Simeone)

9. Oh Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) (Wade)

10. I Wonder as I Wander (Niles)

11. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (Loesser)

12. Christmas Blues (Cahn/Holt)

13. After the Holidays (Meyer)

Go here for more info:

Originally Published