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Craft Recordings Reissues ‘A Dave Brubeck Christmas’ for the Holidays

Originally released in 1996, this bestselling title marks the legendary pianist’s sole holiday outing. Craft Recordings is spreading the holiday cheer slightly early.

A Dave Brubeck Christmas 2LP Album

Tony Bennett passed away this morning and whilst I grew up in a Conservative Jewish home, we still listened to him during the Christmas/Chanukah holidays because he did such a wonderful job creating a mood at that time of year that reflected the snow falling outside, family meals, and spirit of the time. Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans were also part of that festive music; my father would play jazz, Hebrew and Yiddish music, and some of the more popular holiday records that he found downtown at Sam the Record Man.

Craft Recordings has announced a special gift for jazz fans this holiday with a new audiophile pressing of A Dave Brubeck ChristmasOriginally released in 1996, this bestselling title marks the legendary pianist’s sole holiday outing, as he interprets yuletide classics like “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Winter Wonderland and “The Christmas Song,” as well as stirring originals (“To Us Is Given,” “Run, Run, Run to Bethlehem”). 

Available September 22nd, this new 2-LP, 180-gram vinyl edition of A Dave Brubeck Christmas features lacquers cut at 45 RPM by Ryan Smith, delivering the highest quality listening experience. 

A Dave Brubeck Christmas 2LP Album Back

One of the most important and innovative figures in the post-war cool jazz movement, Dave Brubeck (1920–2012) captured the ears of a generation, rising to become one of music’s biggest stars. Despite his global popularity and crossover appeal, however, Brubeck did not release an album of Christmas music until the latter quarter of his six-decade-long career. The resulting record was a welcome—and utterly refreshing—addition to the modern-day holiday cannon.

Featuring Brubeck on the piano, without accompaniment, the stripped-down set was recorded in a single day at Stamford, CT’s Ambient Recording Studio, with nearly every track captured in just one take. Russell Gloyd, who served as Brubeck’s longtime producer, manager and conductor, spoke to Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich about the album in 2018. “Listen to any track and it is Dave playing directly to you,” he noted. “Listen to Dave’s ‘Joy to the World’…You hear the church bells. It’s not Dave improvising, it’s Dave painting a picture.”

Brubeck didn’t deliver a cookie-cutter holiday album. Like everything he did, A Dave Brubeck Christmas defies expectations, offering listeners a reflective performance that mirrors the entire range of moods that the holiday season often evokes.

The pianist puts his own thoughtful touch on well-loved holiday fare, including “Away in a Manger,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “What Child Is This? (Greensleeves),” delivering a performance that feels wistful, even melancholic at times. The joy of the season, meanwhile, is also portrayed in such swinging selections as “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and Brubeck’s wholly original “‘Homecoming’ Jingle Bells,” which opens the album. 

The penultimate track is Brubeck’s second take of the yuletide favorite, titled “‘Farewell’ Jingle Bells.” This version, which takes on a more muted tone, brings to mind the end of a holiday party, as the chatter winds down and weary guests gather their coats. Brubeck also recorded two original compositions: the hopeful “Run, Run, Run to Bethlehem” and the contemplative “To Us Is Given.”

Upon its release on Telarc in September 1996, the album was a commercial and critical success. The Chicago Tribune declared, “In a world cursed with treacly, bombastic Christmas music, this album stands out for its heart and clarity,”while AllMusic hailed it as “a Christmas [album] worth repeated hearings.” An instant bestseller, A Dave Brubeck Christmas landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Jazz Album chart and later ranked among the best-selling jazz titles of the following year. Today, the album remains a favorite in Brubeck’s prolific catalog.

Where to buy: $37.99 at Amazon (available September 22, 2023)

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ORT

    July 23, 2023 at 12:53 am

    Ummmmmm…Ian?

    Should I give these a listen? I am a tremendous Brubeck enthusiast and do not want that ruined but if you say it’s good then I can buy the LPs without fear. Now of course one of the other all time greats Vincenzo Guaraldi has never disappointed me and so might I expect the same from King David of Brubeck?

    Of course I might…ummm…You tell me and remember, I am not as normal as I seam… 😉

    Oh Lord our God, King of the Galaxy and creator of REAL JAZZ, please do NOT allow this album by King Dave of Brubeck to upset thy pitiful servant. Really. I am pitiful but never am I fullahbull.

    Jazz is America’s present to the world. Is it okay for me to give this 2LP set to me?

    HBO Hepp a (Cashew) Brother out?! I know…I know…I should trust the Force on this but I am skeered of getting weird jazz and losing my like for The Brubeck.

    ORT

    I am soooo goin’ to Hell for this, huh?

    • Ian White

      July 23, 2023 at 1:43 pm

      ORT,

      I think it’s typical holiday fare but the sound quality is excellent. I think Tony Bennett passing away made me feel some nostalgia for this one. Perhaps too much.

      Best,

      Ian

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