It’s December. The days are short. And with everything to do to get ready for the holidays, they are even shorter. Never mind. It’s time for hearth and home, and sitting by the fire with family and friends. It’s a time of 'peace on earth' even as we scramble to cross one more item off our to-do lists. Thank goodness, it is also a time for musical traditions that keep a holiday mood in the air.
This week on Riverwalk Jazz, it's Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule as Jim Cullum and the Band welcome an all-star cast of legendary jazz players, outstanding vocal artists and one outrageous tap dancer to the stage of The Landing to interpret carols and holiday classics in a jazz band style.
Using his dancing feet as a percussion instrument, tap sensation Savion Glover joins cornetist Jim Cullum and drummer Eddie Torres on a highly original jazz interpretation of the holiday classic, “The Little Drummer Boy.” A Tony Award-winning performer, Glover changed the way people think about tap with his hit, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, and his star turn 'standing in' for the animated Penguin hero in the motion picture Happy Feet. Over the years, Savion has continued his creative experiment in dance, tapping to musical forms from hip hop and jazz to classical compositions.
Our Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule Holiday Special captures a bevy of jazz legends in a holiday mood.
A veteran of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands, trumpet and flugelhorn champion Clark Terry offers a luscious rendition of “The Christmas Song” (You can almost catch the scent of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire.")
Milt "The Judge" Hinton, a legend of the jazz bass fiddle, holds forth with a genial stroll through “Winter Wonderland.”
Dick Hyman once again proves he is the "Fred Astaire of the Keyboards" as he joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on a high-energy romp through "Jingle Bells Swing."
Sidney Bechet protégé and soprano sax genius Bob Wilber sails through a playful interpretation of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," making young and old believers in the jolly fat man once again.
Broadway's Carol Woods sings “Santa Baby," vamping it up in a sultry Eartha Kitt style. Piano man John Sheridan sets sugar plum fairies in perpetual motion, and gets a standing ovation for his original "Nutcracker Rag."
Providing the perfect tree-trimming, mood-lifting sound track for holiday magic, The Jim Cullum Jazz Band swings through classic carols, including "We Three Kings," God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Joy to the World."
All in all, it is a very Cool Yule.
Photo credit for home page teaser image: Tap sensation Savion Glover Photo courtesy saviongloverproductions.com
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick ©2012