Weekend Beats. Holiday Edition.

Holiday music doesn’t have to suck, but for some reason it usually does. The worst of the lot in my opinion is any recording of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (vomit) and the wretchedly saccharine Paul McCartney original, “(Simply Having) A Wonderful Christmas Time.” That hurts to say because of how much I love Paul McCartney, but that song is water torture. And although it might be funny to build a spectacularly evil holiday playlist, they tell me that is not the spirit of things. Instead, let’s go ahead and talk about some amazingly good albums to spice up your annual holiday cocktail party.Now, you probably already have “Christmas with the Rat Pack” and “Live at Middletree - A Vince Guaraldi Christmas,” but if you don’t, you should. They make a perfect festive start for your evening. Slick Buble-esque vocal renditions of old holiday standards usually bore me, but when the vocalist in question is Ella Fitzgerald, it’s a whole different ballgame. Cue up a copy of “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas” next. Late in the evening when you bust out the highball glasses and your David Niven impression, it’s time to give the 1966 jazz classic “Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas” by Kenny Burrell a spin. And when it’s finally last call, signal a quiet finish with the sophisticated and tasteful ivory ticklings of the late great Dave Brubeck and his solo classic, “A Dave Brubeck Christmas.”  Bottoms up, everyone!

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