Saturday Night Tunes: The Christmas Song

It’s not Christmas without Nat King Cole belting out “The Christmas Song,” if you ask me, so there’s no chance that this album wouldn’t find its way onto the list of great jazz Christmas albums. I’m actually kind of cheating here a little, because most of the songs here are from Cole’s 1960 album The Magic of Christmas, but “The Christmas Song” didn’t wind up on that album. It wasn’t until 1963 that The Magic of Christmas was reissued as The Christmas Song, with Cole’s 1961 recording of the title track replacing “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and the rest of the album left unchanged. For purity’s sake I should probably have gone with The Magic of Christmas here, but I love “The Christmas Song,” and this version in particular, too much for that. Screw purity.

Some people might also think I’m cheating because they don’t think of Nat King Cole as a jazz artist, but screw that too. Aside from that unmistakable voice, the man could play the hell out of the piano, and was in the thick of the 1940s-1950s jazz scene. He influenced pianists like Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Tommy Flanagan (check your copy of Giant Steps), among many others, and that makes him a jazz giant.

OK, rant aside; enjoy the music!

Yeah, I don’t get that thing at the beginning of the video either. I can’t help what’s available on YouTube.

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