June 19, 2024


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CD review: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra & Wynton Marsalis – Big Band Holidays II 2019: Video, CD cover

Swing into the holiday spirit with BIG BAND HOLIDAYS II, the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2015 release from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Featuring original arrangements of holiday classics selected from Big Band Holiday concerts spanning from 2015 to 2018, nine-time GRAMMY Award winner and Pulitzer Prize winner Wynton Marsalis and the JLCO are joined by an all-star assortment of guest vocalists, including Veronica Swift, Denzal Sinclaire, Catherine Russell, Audrey Shakir, and the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin.
Franklin’s stirring solo piano rendition of “O Tannenbaum,” a surprise performance during the 2015 edition of Big Band Holidays, has never before been released.

Other standout tracks include Veronica Swift’s vibrant recording of the classic “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man with the Bag” and Denzal Sinclaire’s jazzed-up version of “We Three Kings.” An instant classic that captures the magic of an annual NYC holiday tradition, BIG BAND HOLIDAYS II serves up timeless nostalgia just in time for the most wonderful time of the year.

1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Written by Edward Pola & George Wyle

Arranged by Wynton Marsalis

Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Victor Goines (clarinet), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Dan Nimmer (piano), Ted Nash (flute)

2. Cool Yule (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Steve Allen

Arranged by Sherman Irby

Soloists: Walter Blanding (tenor saxophone), Sherman Irby (alto saxophone)

3. We Three Kings (ft. Denzal Sinclaire)

Written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr.

Arranged by Carlos Henriquez

Soloists: Dan Nimmer (piano), Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone)

4. O Tannenbaum (ft.Aretha Franklin)

Written by Ernst Anschütz

5. Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Arranged by Ted Nash

Soloist: Marcus Printup (trumpet)

6. (Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag (ft. Veronica Swift)

Written by Harold Stanley, Irving Taylor & Dudley Brooks

Arranged by Walter Blanding

Soloists: Veronica Swift (vocals), Vincent Gardner (trombone)

7. What Will Santa Claus Say? (When He Finds Everybody Swingin’) (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Louis Prima

Arranged by Chris Crenshaw

Soloists: Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone), Ali Jackson (drums)

8. Brazilian Sleigh Bells

Written by Percy Faith

Arranged by Carlos Henriquez

Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Bruce Harris (trumpet), Sherman Irby (alto saxophone)

9. Silver Bells (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Ray Evans & Jay Livingston

Arranged by Ali Jackson

Soloists: Vincent Gardner (trombone), Ted Nash (flute), Dan Nimmer (piano)

10. Snowfall

Written by Claude Thornhill

Arranged by Sherman Irby

Soloist: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)

11. Silent Night (ft. Denzal Sinclaire)

Written by Franz Gruber & Joseph Mohr

Arranged by Victor Goines

Soloists: James Chirillo (guitar), Kenny Rampton (trumpet)



Sherman Irby – alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute; music director (2015-2016)

Ted Nash – alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute

Victor Goines – music director (2018); tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet

Walter Blanding (2015–2017) – tenor saxophone, clarinet, shaker

Paul Nedzela – baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet

*Camille Thurman (2018) – tenor and soprano saxophones


Marcus Printup

Kenny Rampton

Wynton Marsalis (music director, 2017/18)

*Ryan Kisor (2015, 2017-2018)

*Greg Gisbert (2016)

*Bruce Harris (2016)

*Tatum Greenblatt (2017)


Vincent Gardner

Chris Crenshaw

Elliot Mason (2015-2016, 2018)

*Sam Chess (2017)

*Eric Miller (2018)


Dan Nimmer – piano
Carlos Henriquez – bass
Ali Jackson (2015-2016) – drums

*Marion Felder (2017) – drums

*Charles Goold (2018) – drums


Aretha Franklin – vocals and piano

Audrey Shakir – vocals

Denzal Sinclaire vocals

Catherine Russell – vocals

Veronica Swift – vocals

James Chirillo – guitar

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