A start to a very jazzy Christmas

The cheerful celebration of Christmas is right around the corner, which means many festivities are happening. The Christmas season is all about spending time with family, decorating the entire house inside and out, without forgetting to give your tree an annual jolly makeover.  The holidays are also about giving back to others, whether by helping out with baking Christmas cookies and goodies, preparing the big family dinner, or shopping for gifts for friends and relatives. But what would be this festive season without music?

No matter how you celebrate or what your beliefs are, music is always an important part of the celebration. So forget your traditional Christmas carols or "top pop Christmas songs" and swap it for a more sophisticated holiday music playlist with a jazz version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite (Op. 71). It is an essential part of getting into the Christmas spirit the right way, bringing warmth and good rhythm which is always welcomed everywhere.  

In 1960, two Americans -- composer Duke Ellington and pianist Billy Strayhorn -- reinvented this ballet classic with jazz interpretations and excerpts of the famous composition, delivering vintage excellence with a modern twist. While, the original Nutcracker ballet is an important  part of Christmas tradition performed by many orchestras during the month of December, the jazz version gives us a different but wonderful playlist firmly rooted in  traditional holiday music. The arrangement, which includes nine tracks of jazz greatness, is a perfect gift for all music lovers  and the perfect way to start a very jazzy Christmas!

The following tracks are included in the arrangement and are available on YouTube and Spotify!

  1. "Overture" - 3:22
  2. "Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes)" - 2:30
  3. "Peanut Brittle Brigade (March)" - 4:37
  4. "Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)" - 3:05
  5. "Entr'acte" - 1:53
  6. "Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)" - 2:52
  7. "Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)" - 2:50
  8. "Danse of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)" - 4:04
  9. "Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)" - 5:44


- The Nutcracker Suite (Pyotr Tchaikovsky arr. Duke Ellington, ARC Studio Jazz Ensemble & The Sacramento Jazz Orchestra): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgXCfeGw-p0

- Suite by Duke Ellington on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5yycXKoMeHkPIOcnHT5iQN

Idea by Hilary Sommerhalder
Text by Tessa Mack 
Illustration by Anastasia Pozhydaeva

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