Not a band of big people, more an ensemble of many players making a big sound that is often swing or jazz in nature. Naturally the biggest exponents of the genre are from times gone by which means that we can safely say in the context of a playlist of big band Christmas music that they don’t make ‘em like they use to anymore.
Even for those unfamiliar with this style of music the leading lights such as Glenn Miller, Louie Armstrong and Percy Faith should still be recognisable and the big band Christmas music that they make will certainly be something that could turn you onto this glorious sound. Try Benny Goodman and his Orchestra’s unconventional ‘Santa Claus Came In The Spring’ from way back in 1935. The minute I heard it I was thinking of the music that soundtracks so many of the Laurel & Hardy features from around the same time. If this doesn’t get you into swing Christmas songs then I don’t know what could.
The thing that distinguishes these big band Christmas songs is their universality, while other genres tend to pull in audiences of varying age groups this is a glorious set of festive favourites that will put colour in the cheeks of all the family. Like when Jan Garber and his Orchestra do something special with ‘Winter Wonderland’, including a vocal croon that would have the Rat Pack blushing. Garber recorded a whole album of the stuff in 1959 called ‘Christmas Dance Party’ which must have made Christmas that year a fun spectacle.
Candidate for longest ever Christmas song title must go to Guy Lombardo and his ‘He'll Be Coming Down The Chimney (Like He Always Did Before)’, an near instrumental par excellence that surfs between cherubic sweety to cheeky monkey within the space of a couple of minutes. The male vocalising is certainly of its time but what is Christmas if not an occasion to glory on the treasures of Christmas past. Another original and one that seems to have slipped modern attention is the richly tailored ‘When You Trim Your Christmas Tree’ by Les Brown from 1946. It originally shipped on 78rpm vinyl and wasn’t each of those grooves lucky to have been graced by the beauty of the sound. Featuring a joyful ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ detour this is something to arm yourself with when Christmas starts to get to you.
Published by SpiritOfXmas | g+ profile