If you’re looking for some great new music to discover this weekend, look no further than our weekly New Release Cheat Sheet.
New Songs and Videos
Norah Jones, I Dream of Christmas (Live At The Empire State Building)
Singer/songwriter Norah Jones shared her live performance of her first-ever holiday-themed full-length, I Dream of Christmas, from the top of the Empire State Building and alongside Sasha Dobson, Gus Seyfert and Brian Blade. The record features covers and original compositions and it was released earlier this year via Blue Note Records. “When I was trying to figure out which direction to take, the original songs started popping in my head,” Jones explains via a press release. “They were all about trying to find the joys of Christmas, catching that spark, that feeling of love and inclusion that I was longing for during the rest of the year.”
Benny Benack III with the Steven Feifke Big Band, “The Dreidel Song”
Trumpeter/vocalist Benny Benack III recently collaborated with the acclaimed Steven Feifke Big Band on a collection of fresh takes on holiday-themed songs, Season’s Swinging Greetings. The collection includes two Hanukah musical treats, one of them being a version of “The Dreidel Song.” Also known as “I Have a Little Dreidel,” the origins of this composition date back to as early as 1927. However, Feifke’s imaginative arrangement harkens back to the spirit of the craps game in the popular Guys and Dolls musical, which is fitting, considering that this is a reimagining of a traditional song based on a gambling game.
Marvin Gaye, “I Want to Come Home for Christmas”
This holiday season, UMe has teamed up with legendary artists and estates to create official animated videos for some of the most beloved holiday songs and lesser-known gems. Among them, the more solemn and serious “I Want to Come Home for Christmas,” written and recorded in 1972, and posthumously released in 2019. The song was written in support of America’s prisoners of war and the video, directed by Tim Fox and animated by Daniel Crossan, depicts Gaye as a cab driver during the holidays, driving around and helping veterans. It premiered on Veteran’s Day in partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Kirk Whalum, How Does Christmas Sound? (Artistry/Mack Avenue)
Acclaimed saxophonist Kirk Whalum revisits tracks from the Christmas canon and lesser-known gems with a more introspective, spiritual sound on How Does Christmas Sound?, out now on Artistry/Mack Avenue. This is his second Christmas-themed full-length album, following his GRAMMY-nominated 2001 LP, The Christmas Message. Order How Does Christmas Sound? here.
José James, Merry Christmas from José James (Rainbow Blonde)
Jazz vocalist José James celebrates the holiday season while honoring classic jazz and pop records of the 1950s on his first-ever holiday-themed full-length project. Merry Christmas from José James features a ten-track program of holiday classics, popular ballads and two original tracks – “Christmas in New York” and “Christmas Day.” Order it here.
Kat Edmonson, A Kat Edmonson Christmas Vol. 1 (Spinnerette)
Vocalist Kat Edmonson reinterprets Christmas classics on her new album, Holiday Swingin! A Kat Edmonson Christmas Vol. 1, including “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Let It Snow”, “The Christmas Song,” “O Christmas Tree” and more. “My band and I had so much fun recording all these Christmas classics, you can actually hear us laughing and joking around. This album is pure joy,” Edmonson says via a statement. Order it here.
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