Christmas was a special time for me growing up and Christmas music was a big part of it. There is one west coast Christmas album that my family has listened to every year and it means the world to me, even today. Do you know what album I am talking about?


Every Year We Listen to This Christmas Album on Christmas Morning

There is a legendary music composer from the west coast that I think made the best Christmas album of all time. Every year as kids in my family, we were not allowed to go to the living room on Christmas morning until the music from this album started. In my early years, my Dad played it on vinyl but now you can listen to the whole album on YouTube. It was originally recorded in 1961 by Capital Records in a famous California studio.


Stan Kenton: A Merry Christmas!

If you're not familiar with Stan Kenton, I kind of feel sorry for you. He was an amazing composer originally from California that had a huge impact on jazz and music today. A Merry Christmas by Stan Kenon is hands down my favorite Christmas album of all time. I guarantee you will recognize every song on the album but each has been given its own special "Kenton" flavor. Listen to some of my favorite songs below if you're interested.

Canva-Getty Amazon
Canva-Getty Amazon

The First Track is O Tannenbaum

Just so you can get a little taste of what this album brings, I'll post a few here so you can listen for yourself. Even if you haven't ever been a jazz fan, give these few tracks a listen. The first song on the album is O Tannenbaum.

The 12 Days of Christmas - Stan Kenton Style

The entire album is great but a few songs on the album are very special to me. Everyone knows the 12 Days of Christmas, but the version Kenton creates is easily my favorite. I was a trumpet player growing up, so strong horn harmonies must be in my blood. Listen to the tight harmonies he creates in this version.

We Three Kings has Never Sounded so Different

Another one of my favorite songs on the album is We Three Kings of Orient Are. At first, the song is very familiar and gentle but then quickly changes into a unique and powerful horn jazz masterpiece.

The Final Song Mixes Multiple Christmas Favorites

The very last song on the original album is a medley of some of the most famous Christmas songs spun together in a way only Stan Kenton can. He starts with Joy to the World and mixes versions of Away in the Manger, the First Noel, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and more.

Where Can You Buy or Listen to the Entire Album?

All the songs are available on Youtube to listen to for free and available in multiple different formats online to buy including vinyl or digital downloads. I personally own 3 different copies on vinyl, a digital copy in my car, and even carry a copy on my phone just in case I need it. I hope it brings your family as much Christmas magic as it has for mine. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

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