Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 Favorite Versions of "Jingle Bells"

Repost from 2006. My 10 favorite versions of "Jingle Bells". The order might have changed a little bit since 3 years ago, but with this song, one can hardly go wrong. With the exception of the singing dogs...
  • 10.- The Mills Brothers - Their harmonies are as perfect and tight as any group around. I think I like this one more for their reputation on earlier recordings, where they would break into "instrumental" sounds with their own voices. Simply remarkable.
  • 9. - Diana Krall - This would be her big band version. Anyone who has never heard her voice or piano talents is missing out! Canadian, blond, a golfer, a total knock-out. Her only possible weakness is that she's married to Elvis Costello.
  • 8. - Morton Gould - Probably a name that you won't recognize. "Jingle Bells" is one of the first songs a beginning band student learns. Just in time for the school Christmas concert. How do you go about writing an arrangement of it for highly-trained, highly-paid musicians? You do it the way that Mr. Gould did. Fast, complex, tricky. It's a difficult piece for the musicians, but a joy for the audience. You don't really get to hear it often, but it's a great version!
  • 7. - Swingle Singers - Probably the best a cappella version. The Swingle Singers were well known for their vocalizations of classical pieces. They also got into the jazz area, and were the singers during the chase scenes of the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Very distinct style.
  • 6. - The Hollywood Trombones - OK--this is a geeky trombonist's dream. Read more about the album below. I can't begin to tell you how incredibly talented these guys are!
  • 5. - Jewel - This is just a cute, jazzy, a cappella version. I like it! Note: I cannot, for the life of me, find a recording of this. It could be her recording of "Rudolph" I was thinking of, or it might very well be a figment of my imagination...
  • 4. - moe. - These guys are a jam group that infuses fun in their rock. Influenced by the Grateful Dead, they have played at Woodstock 99, and opened for the Who this past summer. Just a darned fun version!
  • 3. - Diana Krall - Yeah, her again. A couple of years before she released her Christmas album, she did a three-song EP as a promo product. This is the version found on that, and is the more recognized version of the two.
  • 2. - Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters - You can hear a snippet of this version in the movie "A Christmas Story" when they're opening presents on Christmas morn. At least that's where I think it is. Barry Manilow/Exposé have recorded a similar version recently. Jazzy, up-tempo and fun.
  • 1. - Jimmy Smith - Great version from the jazz organist himself. The Hammond B-3 has rarely sounded so good!

3 comments:

Barefoot Dreamer said...

It is almost summer temps there today. you got shorts on?

Osbasso said...

It's pretty much the same here. A sloppy mess outside, too. I'm not wearing pants...does that count? :-P

nitebyrd said...

Diana Krall has a fantastic voice. Love her!