It's that time of year again, when news turns to all things Christmas! Craft Recordings has recently announced a new reissue of a beloved yuletide album. 1996's A Dave Brubeck Christmas was the great pianist-composer's only full-length holiday offering; on September 22, it will return to print as a 2-LP set at 45 RPM pressed on 180-gram vinyl, with lacquers cut by Ryan Smith.
Brubeck (1920-2012) joined the Telarc label in 1993 and recorded prolifically for the label through 2006 in various lineups and formats. He'd dabbled in Christmas music over the years on such tracks as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" for Columbia's 1962 compilation Jingle Bell Jazz, "We Three Kings" on Jazz Heritage Society's 1992 A Jazz Christmas: Hot Jazz for a Cool Night, and (once again) "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" on Telarc's Santa's Bag: An All-Star Jazz Christmas in 1994. More significantly, he'd composed his own Christmas cantata, La Fiesta de la Posada, in 1975.
His lone Christmas album was an entirely solo affair, recorded in one day at Ambient Recording in Stamford, Connecticut. He blended favorite songs both secular ("Winter Wonderland," the inevitable "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town") and sacred ("Away in a Manger," "O Little Town of Bethlehem") with his own compositions including "To Us Is Given" and "Run, Run, Run to Bethlehem." Brubeck reinvented James Pierpont's familiar classic in two parts as "Homecoming Jingle Bells" and "Farewell Jingle Bells" as part of the tapestry of this alternately joyful and reflective - but always heartfelt - album.
Produced by John Snyder and Russell Gloyd, A Dave Brubeck Christmas peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart and would place among the best-selling jazz releases of 1997. Brubeck periodically returned the holiday milieu, joining Yo-Yo Ma for a 2008 rendition of "Joy to the World" and cutting two songs ("Away in a Manger" and "Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep") at the same 2010 session that yielded his posthumously released album Lullabies).
Craft's reissue is the first time the album has been spread across two vinyl LPs and at 45 RPM for optimal sound quality. This exquisite Christmas gift from the great Dave Brubeck is due in stores on September 22. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
- "Homecoming" Jingle Bells
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
- Joy To The World
- Away In A Manger
- Winter Wonderland
- O Little Town Of Bethlehem
- What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
- To Us Is Given
- O Tannenbaum
- Silent Night
- Cantos Para Pedir Las Posadas
- Run, Run, Run To Bethlehem
- "Farewell" Jingle Bells
- The Christmas Song