Like everyone else, I have a set of Christmas traditions. I have a neat stack of records I must listen to before December 25 or else the holiday will be incomplete and lacking in totality. (At least from my personal standard.)
One of my traditions is watching Mitchell Kezin's engrossing documentary Jingle Bell Rocks! (With a completely unnecessary exclamation mark at the end of it.) It was really only through JBR! that I discovered the brilliance of Bob Dorough, jazz pianist, composer, and songwriter. The first time I watched JBR! my daughter was consumed with Schoolhouse Rock! (Yet, another unnecessary exclamation mark!) And I'll admit to having several of those tunes stuck in my head for weeks.
But the discovery that JBR! lead me to was Dorough's collaboration with Miles Davis on the track, "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)" I've been consumed with the music of Miles Davis recently and I'm always surprised to see how many jazz artists celebrated Christmas with music of their own. Miles never was one to include any kind of vocalist on his tracks. Besides "Blue Xmas" where Dorough does the singing/scatting, I can only think of one other Miles track with a vocalist, "Darn That Dream" off Birth of the Cool. But Dorough snatches the spotlight away from Miles for a curmudgeonly take on the crass business of "Xmas." The word doesn't even deserve it's proper nomenclature, you see. It's insufferable--the holiday and the human race. It's all just that much "folderol."
It's a gem of song that should be a staple on everyone's "Xmas" playlist.