As you might have guessed from my last name (which isn’t LIVES) I grew up looking at Christmas as something to get through. And so there’s very little “official” Christmas music I embrace: Johnny Guarnieri’s SANTA’S SECRET; Mark Shane’s Nagel-Heyer CD, WHAT WILL SANTA CLAUS SAY? Louis’s WHITE CHRISTMAS, with its unusual emphasis on the final word of the lyric. In a pinch, Hampton’s GIN FOR CHRISTMAS, but that’s a stretch.
So I report with pleasure that friends of mine, brilliant joy-makers, created two sweetly rocking versions of this pineapple-scented Christmas song, which I am embarrassed to say I had never listened to until now. But it takes its place as the Official JAZZ LIVES Christmas Performance, and there’s even an alternate take.
“Mele Kalikimaka” (pronounced [ˈmɛlɛ kəˌlikiˈmɐkə]) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by R. Alex Anderson. The song takes its title from the Hawaiian phrase Mele Kalikimaka, meaning “Merry Christmas.” One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca.
The BIG FIVE . . . are Robert Young, tenor saxophone; Jeff Hamilton, piano, arranger; Bill Reinhart, banjo and executive producer; Jessica King, vocal; Mikiya Matsuda, National resophonic lap steel guitar; Clint Baker, string bass.
And before you click: they’re just wonderful — easy tender slightly amused melodic swing. You can hear them smiling.
and the alternate version:
When I look at the new videos on YouTube from “Epiphonatic,” and see that it has only 82 subscribers to this channel, I think, as I often do, “What is wrong with people?” So get there and get your joys. Free, buoyant, and one size fits all. And have a very delightful Christmas. Eat some fresh pineapple.
May your happiness increase!