JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Christmas 2023 Playlist

The editors of JAZZIZ have the good fortune of being able to listen to new music before it’s officially released in stores and streaming platforms. And because we’re always listening to new tunes, we always know just what to recommend. That’s why we’ll bring you a roundup of ten songs each week, featuring music from our favorite new albums, singles and other tunes that may have flown under your radar.

This week’s special holiday-themed playlist kicks off in a big way with Southern California ensemble WAR offering an irresistibly funky groove that radiates sunny vibes and the holiday spirit on their first-ever Christmas song, “(Yes It’s) Christmas.” John Basile utilizes electric and nylon guitars combined with digital MIDI technology to interpret timeless yuletide melodies in a Latin jazz setting on Silent Night, including our selection, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Singer/songwriter Nicky Shire blends the sentimental tones of the festive season with a touch of melancholy on “Yuletide.”

Pianist Christian Sands offers his take on holiday classics and surprises on Christmas Stories, including “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” featuring saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Vocalist and pianist Laila Biali has shared “Belle nuit de Noël,” a new holiday-themed French waltz co-written with Sonia Johnson. Tobin Mueller’s “Toyland Fantasy” is a synth-driven tribute to the holidays, combining several carols into an all-epic, genre-blending experience. Norah Jones and Laufey seamlessly blend jazz and pop sensibilities, combining their distinctive sounds on their holiday single Christmas With You, featuring their playful new co-written original, “Better Than Snow.”

Adam Blackstone collaborates with Keke Palmer on “Christmas Kisses,” one of ten tracks from his album, A Legacy Christmas. Songer/songwriter Patricia Vonne gives a nod to the stylings of the 1940s and 1950s with “Christmas Is My Favorite Time of the Year.” Closing our playlist, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis perform a version of “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” with vocalist Denzal Sinclair, released as part of the new collection of holiday music, Big Band Holidays III.

Listen to this week’s JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice Playlist via the player below.

Featured photo by Eli Ritter.

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