There are many new aspects of Jazz St. Louis’ newly renovated Harold Jazz Center, but one of the finest additions turns out to be something old. Rich McDonnell, founding board member and longtime supporter of jazz, was lost this past year, and the Ferring Jazz Bistro has the honor of housing his classic, Hammond B-3 organ, one of the most renowned instruments in jazz.
Written by Dave Hamilton and Clarence Paul, and recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964, "Purple Snowflakes" isn't known as a holiday classic, even though it really should be. St. Louis band Rough Shop updates the dreamy, jazzy, psychedelic sound with a cover that's both faithful and fully inspired.
In the great tradition of James Brown's "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto," the Emotions' "Black Christmas" and Brook Benton's "Soul Santa," Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings express a soulful yuletide spirit from an urban, African-American point of view. "Ain't No Chimneys in the Project" is a contemporary Christmas classic.
Nothing quite says the holidays like Conor Oberst, Bright Eyes and a 1940s Christmas classic. OK, that's a bit of an overstatement; still, this recording of Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson's "Blue Christmas," cut by Bright Eyes in 2002 and recently reissued by Saddle Creek, rings out as charming and sincere as a silver bell.
If you love holiday music, you surely love the way tradition gets updated, refreshed and sometimes warped. On "Running With Rudolph," St. Louis' the Lucky Old Sons do just that -- in a swinging '50s rock 'n' roll style no less -- with one of the season's most venerable characters.
Fresh and revelatory holiday music can be hard to come by, but when Brothers Lazaroff join forces with electronic musician the Vaad, lyricist James Stone Goodman and members of the Klezmer Conspiracy, Hanukkah truly sounds like a festival of light and dedication for the 21st century.
Oh ye merry music fans, do we have a compilation for you. The second volume of KDHXmas features 17 artists from St. Louis and beyond, all playing brand new and/or familiar songs to make the season bright.