More holiday happiness!

In scanning new albums of seasonal jazz recently, I stumbled on this fantastic offering from the UK’s Gabriel Latchin Trio. While the titles may be very familiar, the handling of them is fresh and snappy. Immensely enjoyable: I look forward to exploring more from this group.

All tracks from this album have been added to my Spotify Yuletide Swing or Slow Holiday Jazz playlists, but please purchase the album if you like it.

Swinging serenity

I can’t believe I haven’t lauded this group yet, after months of savoring their sweet stylings. Like the entirety of the performing arts community, this super suave jazz trio had to scramble to find performance alternatives in the face of the pandemic closures, and began streaming live Facebook sessions on Monday nights early this spring. These have become one of my top psychological palliatives in the turbulence of both the virus and the malevolent insanity of the current U.S. administration. If I haven’t been able to create much music of my own, having these cats remind me of what brilliance and joy is still possible has been mana.

Fronted by their wunderkind eponymous pianist, superbly backed by drummer Kyle Pool and bassist Russell Hall (who has to be the most stylin’ jazz performer currently on the interwebz), these concerts from Emmet’s living room in Harlem include featured guests from across the jazz spectrum. Each week is a blast.

The group has an extensive discography which I highly recommend, but increasingly legendary archive of live performances on both Facebook and Youtube is equally delectable. Donations are requested and I highly encourage it: live music this good and visceral, right in the comfort of your own home, shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Kicking off the holiday spirit

Kicking off the holiday spirit

UPDATE: After publishing last week’s post, I was made aware that Rick Gallagher has a brand new holiday album out this year, which I spent this past weekend getting to know. Like his existing two, “Christmas Tidings” has unfailingly put me in the spirit – and given the mood in the U.S. right now that’s no mean feat. The invention and diversity of the arrangements on this new album match those of the previous ones: a nod at “Poinciana” in “Do You Hear What I Hear”, the 5/4 waltz beat of “Angels We Have Heard On High”, a smile-inducing country twang in a couple of the numbers… It’s also great to hear material not usually included in the fairly limited tradition rep. Guaranteed to make you feel carefree for a while. Highly recommended. Check it out via the image below.


Although I’m not religiously observant, I always revel in the December holiday season as a time to celebrate community, generosity, joy. Holiday music of all kinds is a great love of mine, so I’ll be devoting my posts across December to it.

To kick it off I’m revisiting two albums I discovered last year by Pittsburgh-based jazz pianist Rick Gallagher. Both of these were an integral part of my 2015 holiday season: check them out via the images below and you’ll see why.

This is deep, trenchant playing across all moods. In particular, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” on Snowriding is one of the most sublime ballad performances I’ve ever heard. Like a top shelf cognac, this poignant track will erase your cares. But they’re all good.

Both these albums figure heavily in my holiday Spotify playlist, Yuletide Swing. It skews towards uptempo swing / bebop piano trio jazz, though there’s a few big band and other genre numbers in there (gotta have Guaraldi and Ella). It’s publicly available: I hope it gives your holiday some lift.