JazzTimes 10: Classic Jazz Christmas Albums

Recordings that always make for a cool Yule

Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas
  1. Geri Allen: A Child Is Born (Motéma, 2011)

Geri Allen's A Child Is Born

Another curveball in a career full of them, Geri Allen’s solo piano Christmas album was as wildly idiosyncratic and original as everything else in her career, from its opening “Angels We Have Heard On High” (with a left-hand vamp battling for supremacy with her melodic right hand) to its eerie closing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” with Allen doubling herself on celeste. The album isn’t entirely solo—thanks to a female vocal chorus on her original tunes, the brief, weird funk “Journey to Bethlehem” and the endlessly gorgeous “God Is With Us.” As the jazz world continues to grapple with the late Allen’s legacy, A Child Is Born is too rich to be overlooked as a mere holiday novelty.

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Originally Published

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.