Wynton Marsalis – Christmas Jazz Jam (2009)

FrontCover1Christmas Jazz Jam is a Christmas album by Wynton Marsalis that was released in 2009 by Compass Productions. Musicians on the album include Wessell Anderson on alto saxophone, Vincent Gardner and Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Victor Goines on saxophone and clarinet, and Herlin Riley on drums.

In 2009 the album reached peak positions of number six on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart, number nine on the Top Holiday Albums chart, and number nineteen on the Top Independent Albums chart. In 2010 the album reached number 125 on the Billboard 200.

Christmas Jazz Jam marked Marsalis’ first holiday album in twenty years. For the album, Marsalis assembled a group of ten musicians to perform uncredited arrangements of twelve holiday standards. Following “Mary Had a Baby” are traditional New Orleans jazz-style renditions of “Jingle Bells” (James Pierpont) and “Blue Christmas” (Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson)

In 2009 Christmas Jazz Jam reached peak positions of number six on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart, number nine on the Top Holiday Albums chart, and number nineteen on the Top Independent Albums chart. In 2010 the album reached number 125 on the Billboard 200. (by wikipedia)

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The trumpeter for all seasons fields a capable 10-piece group, which essays a program of the usual fare with a few surprises. Musical styles deftly rendered include New Orleans trad (“Jingle Bells,” “Blue Christmas”), calypso (“Rudolph”), Duke Ellington(“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Little Town of Bethlehem”), bracing renditions of spirituals (“Mary Had a Baby,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain”) and a bluesy “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The uncredited arrangements are smart yet not ostentatious; they don’t overshadow the soloists. Marsalis is certainly a trumpeter for this season. (Kirk Silsbee, Los Angeles Times: awarded the album three of four stars

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Personnel:
Wessell Anderson (saxophone)
Walter Blanding (saxophone)
Vincent Gardner (trombone)
Victor Goines (saxophone, clarinet)
Wycliffe Gordon (trombone, tuba)
Roberta Gumbel (vocals)
Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)
Paul Nedzela (saxophone, clarinet)
Dan Nimmer (piano)
Herlin Riley (drums)
Don Vappie (banjo, guitar, vocals)
Reginald Veal (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 4.50
02. Mary Had A Baby (Traditional) 4.03
03. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 4.43
04.  Blue Christmas (Hayes/Johnson) 5.24
05. Go Tell It On The Mountain (Work, Jr.) 7.08
06. O Christmas Tree (Anschütz) 7.25
07. O Little Town Of Bethlehem (Brooks) 7.21
08. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 6.05
09. The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 5.30
10. Good King Wenceslas (Helmore(Neale) 6.49
11. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 7.08
12. Greensleeves (Traditional) 2.05

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