A Child Is Born.
Detail from cover of Geri Allen,
Detail from cover of Geri Allen, A Child Is Born. Motema Music
Every year, NPR Music puts together a radio special called A Jazz Piano Christmas, drawing together top jazz pianists live on stage. This year, a number of fine jazz pianists went ahead and just made their own Christmas albums.
This isn't all the good holiday-themed improvised music out now (John Zorn Christmas album, anyone?) but we endorse it for all your family-gathering, present-accumulating and eggnog-swilling purposes — and perhaps some deeper listening, too. Here are five tracks from a few of the standout Christmas jazz albums released this year, and a bonus from a record set to come out early next year.