Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Entertaining: Christmas Music for the Dinner Party

Ever since I can remember, one of my favorite aspects of the Christmas season is Christmas music. Music sets the tone for all of your Holiday entertaining, and your party soundtrack can quickly make or break your gathering. Music has always been my forte. The following selections are guaranteed to be hits for your Holiday occasion. I vary a bit from year, as a myriad of new Christmas/ Holiday albums come out each year, and inevitably I will purchase on or two. Sometimes, they will make the cut (Christmas with the Rat Pack, Capital Records), but most do not (Ariana Grande, 2014. please!) For the most part, my playlist remains the same from year to year. 

I have compiled a list of my favorite music which has been tested for years. I can almost say I guarantee a great party if you use my music, but since I live in the South, I know that sometimes you can't account for the taste of others. Take my Perfect Party Music List and make it your own, although I will not accept responsibility for the outcome if you stray too far. 

 For Pre-Dinner Party Cocktail Hour, the Dinner Party itself and Nightcaps, I always suggest a nice Jazz collection. Some of my favorites mix the standard Christmas songs with original, or less known selections. Jazz sets a hip, classy tone to a party, and can be either background music, or the main event. Some of my suggestions are:

There is something for everyone on this Jazz compilation by Sony Music. Jazzy, good for background music.

Artist: Various Artists
Album: A Jazz Christmas
Label: Sony Music Distribution
Year Release: 1990
Genre: Jazz

A must-have for everyone's Christmas music repertoire. It is available in a Box Set, with Volumes I, II, and III making up a wide variety of Jazz, that everyone should have for Holiday entertaining.

Artist: Various
Album: A GRP Christmas Collection, Volumes I-III
Label: Arista/ GRP
Year Release: 1996
Genre: Jazz

This is a great collection of Jazz, with iconic artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, and Louis Armstrong performing their amazing versions of classic Christmas songs. 

Artist: Various
Album: Verve Presents: The Very Best of Christmas Jazz
Label: Verve
Year Release: 2001
Genre: Jazz

One of my favorite albums, ever. I can't wait for Thanksgiving each year, so I can listen to it over and over. Great for dinner music, or snuggling by a fire. 

Artist: George Winston
Album: December
Label: Windham Hill
Year Release: 1982
Genre: New Age

What would any special occasion be without The Rat Pack? A wonderful collection of the crooners' versions of standard Christmas songs, this is another must-have for the entertainer. 

Artist: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. 
Album: Christmas With The Rat Pack
Label: Capitol Records
Year Release: 2007
Genre: Jazz, Holiday, Vocal

The warm, jazzy tone that this album sets is mixed with Latin flare and upbeat playfulness. One of my favorites. Herb's version of "A Christmas Song" gives me chill bumps.

Artist: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Album: Christmas Album
Label: A&M
Year Release: 1968
Genre: Jazz, Latin, Christmas, R&B

I don't think anyone actually needs an introduction to this album, but just in case, I will say that it is very much a cool Jazz album. I think Chuck and Lucy would agree.

Artist: Vince Guaraldi Trio
Album: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Label: Fantasy
Year Release: 1965
Genre: Jazz

Always throw in some of the greats like "Let It Snow" by Lena Horn, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland, "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, and "Christmas Waltz" by Nacy Wilson, anything by Andy Williams, etc., etc., etc. If you don't make any Maverick moves or go out on a Popular Music limb (Ariana Grande. Please), your Holiday entertaining endeavor will be successful and enjoyed by all.

Please remember: If you find a house, anywhere, Call me at 615-992-5077. I can help you. Anywhere.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Holiday season.


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