JazzTimes 10: Classic Jazz Christmas Albums

Recordings that always make for a cool Yule

Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas
  1. Oscar Peterson: An Oscar Peterson Christmas (Telarc, 1995)

His second album recorded after a 1993 stroke finds Peterson uncharacteristically succinct and uncluttered on most of these tunes (with some triumphant returns to form on “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” and “Winter Wonderland”). But he’s still Oscar Peterson, full of tasty fills and blues licks, and even when he yields the lead to guests like vibraphonist Dave Samuels and flugelhornist Jack Schantz (or the string orchestra that blankets most of the record), he throws down swing as though issuing a challenge—one on which guitarist Lorne Lofsky, bassist David Young, and drummer Jerry Fuller happily take him up.

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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.