Tonight, we swing! Our three under the tree really have it going on.
“What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin’?),” Louis Prima and His New Orleans Gang, 1936, from “Santa Claus Blues,” a 1988 compilation on Jass Records. It’s out of print.
This is the oldest tune in my collection, but you can get a sense of the great Louis Prima as a hipster even in this early piece.
Prima was just 25 when he cut this tune, having just hit it big in the New York nightclubs. Not long afterward, he headed west to Los Angeles, where he worked until becoming a Las Vegas institution in the ’50s.
“Jingle Bells,” Duke Ellington, 1962, from “Jingle Bell Jazz,” a 1985 compilation that combines two Columbia albums, “Jingle Bell Jazz” and “God Rest Ye Merry Jazzmen.” This tune is from the former.
This starts a little slowly, then picks up the pace when the 12-piece horn section jumps in. That, of course, is Billy Strayhorn on the piano. Recorded in New York City on June 21, 1962. (I turned 5 years old that day.)
“Winter Wonderland,” Alexander O’Neal, from “My Gift to You,” 1988.
No ’80s funk on this one. Rather, it’s an energetic big-band arrangement right out of the ’60s, with O’Neal’s smooth tenor rising and dropping to keep pace with the horns. Lee Blaskey — who also worked with Janet Jackson — produced, arranged and conducted this swinging backing track.
Enjoy. More to come. Time grows short for requests, so get ’em in.
One more thing: Today was a most excellent day at the record store. Sitting at the front of a stack on the floor was “Snoopy and His Friends,” the 1967 album by the Royal Guardsmen. My friendly used vinyl merchant agreed to part with it for a most reasonable price.
If you picked up “Snoopy’s Christmas” earlier, circle back to Vol. 1 and get it again. This rip is better, with a richer sound.