Christmas jazz for the whole family? Yes, there is such a thing. It's Vince Guaraldi's enduring soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is the CD you put on when you and your folks and your kids are all together, trimming the tree and hanging the lights. Everyone will love it.
This CD provides a great blend of Christmas jazz, from holiday favorites (performed by the likes of Joshua Redman, Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau and Bela Fleck) to slightly more non-traditional fare, such as this number by singer-songwriter Michael Franks.
Various Artists, Warner Bros. Jazz Christmas Party
Sometimes on Christmas Eve, gifts aren't the only things that get unwrapped. If you're expecting — or hoping for — a romantic Christmas, this CD will set the mood. Artists include Ella Fitzgerald, Gerry Mulligan, Shirley Horn, Oscar Peterson, Yusef Lateef, Billy Eckstine and the guitarist featured here: Kenny Burrell.
Vocalist and pianist Diana Krall teams up with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and special guests for a CD of swinging Christmas jazz that's sure to become a classic. This one is a "must" for every holiday jazz collection.
Diana Krall with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Christmas Songs
Not many Christmas CDs are infused with the spirit of Django Reinhart's Quintet of the Hot Club of France, performed by an acoustic string trio from Nashville. A strange collision of elements, to be sure, but it really works. If you play this CD at your Christmas party, be prepared to have a lot of your guests come up to you and ask, "Who are these guys?" Especially when they take "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and turn it into something you might hear late at night in a dancehall in Budapest.