Ahmed's (Christmas) Smooth Jazz Notes: December 9, 2019

New Christmas Albums From Marion Meadows, Micheal Lington, and reissues from Diana Ross and The Ramsey Lewis Trio along with other Christmas singles

December 9, 2019
Ahmed's Christmas Smooth Jazz Notes

Christmas is upon us and I just wanted to share with you some of the wonderful new music we are playing for you this holiday season along with a couple of classic reissues!

Marion Meadows - Christmas With You Cover

Christmas With You

Capping 30 incredible years as a recording artist and one of Smooth Jazz’s premiere saxophone masters, Marion Meadows celebrates the season – and gears up for Norman Brown’s Joyous Christmas tour – with his first-ever holiday collection CHRISTMAS WITH YOU. Inspired by childhood memories of a loving neighborhood where the spread of goodwill taught him the true meaning of Christmas. Meadows takes a magical, mystical, stroll (sometimes super-chill, sometimes crazy-brisk) through a batch of classics and a few heart-tugging originals. This urban-flavored collection has an intimate, nostalgic feeling throughout, with fresh pop, old school R&B, rock and traditional jazz elements sprinkled about. Joining the festivities and helping Meadows make the season bright are a handful of dynamic genre veterans, including Brown, Blake Aaron, Gail Jhonson, and Joey Sommerville. Have a listen to the first single, Christmas On The Radio.



Michael Lington - A Foreign Affair Christmas

A Foreign Affair Christmas

As its title suggests, Michael Lington’s A Foreign Affair Christmas takes a romantic, cosmopolitan approach to holiday music. The Copenhagen-born, Los Angeles-based saxophonist-songwriter-producer has toured the globe, performing in over 40 countries – so it seemed only natural for him to bring Latin, Jazz, Caribbean, R&B and Danish flavors to Christmas classics that are beloved around the world. Lington is joined by an international A-list of guest artists that includes Philippe SaisseVince GillRuss FreemanChris StandringDave KozAdam HawleySheléa and Rick Braun. Watch Michael's story behind the album and listen to the first single, Last Christmas(feat. Philippe Saisse) below.



Diana Ross- Wonderful Christmas Time Cover

Wonderful Christmas Time

The spirit and sound of the iconic angelic voice of Diana Ross rings bright again this holiday season with the vinyl reissue of her classic Wonderful Christmas Time. The 20-track collection is available for the first time in two physical configurations, a standard black 2LP, a limited-edition translucent red 2LP.  Wonderful Christmas Time is also available on CD and all major digital platforms from Ross Records/UMe.

"There are so many things I love about the holiday season," Ms. Ross shares in the album's liner notes. "Decorating the tree with the family, the lights, the mistletoe, having family and friends and lots of kids around with the sound of their laughter and the feeling of joy and fun … It's a happy, happy time."

The album features covers of standards, from "Sleigh Ride" to "White Christmas," to more recent season favorites from Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" to Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Ms. Ross is also accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra on five stunning recordings: "Sleigh Ride / Jingle Bells," "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "The First Noël," and "I Heard The Bells."Wonderful Christmas Time was personally curated by executive producer, Ms. Ross.


Ramsey Lewis Trio - More Sounds Of Christmas Cover

More Sounds Of Christmas

Ramsey 1964’s More Sounds Of Christmas was the follow-up to 1961’s successful Sounds Of Christmas. The album mainly features Ramsey’s trio: Ramsey on piano/celeste, El Dee Young on bass/cello and Steve McCall on drums, with an occasional appearance by bassist Cleveland Eaton, drummer Isaac Holt, and various string players. More Sounds Of Christmas features memorable versions of ‘White Christmas’, ‘We Three Kings’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Jingle Bells’ in particular has been a perennial Christmas favorite since its release. This is the first time More Sounds Of Christmas has been reissued as a stand-alone LP or CD since 1964.



Rebecca Angel

Santa Baby

Putting an exclamation point (this time with a bow!) on another groundbreaking year, NYC jazz singer Rebecca Angel offers a sensual and stylish, hip yet retro twist on the Eartha Kitt originated classic. Opening with a playful scat intro, Angel – who made her recording debut with a holiday original four years ago – weaves her sultry spell over the supple grooves and tasty retro vibes of arranger, producer, keyboardist Jason Miles and a handful of veteran NYC musicians, including Rebecca’s father, Billboard charting hornman, Dennis Angel, who delivers a swanky trumpet solo that adds to the track’s hipster cool. 


James Bowman

Things On My Mind

Colorful, uplifting, steady grooving and wildly inspiring, singer/songwriter James Bowman III’s latest album THINGS ON MY MIND offers a seamless merging of gospel energy, sacred reverence and urban oriented Smooth Jazz. Having played with Brian McKnight and Mervyn Warren and opened for everyone from Edwin Hawkins, Kirk Franklin and Bebe and CeCe Winans, the multi-talented artist and seductive vocalist has plenty to communicate about - the Lord, marriage, family and relationship. And as an added bonus for those feeling festive, James includes one of the most soulful versions of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" you've ever heard and worthy of your Holiday playlists this season... HO! HO! HO!


Mowtown Moe

Christmas Without You

While many Smooth Jazz artists release holiday tunes that are up-tempo covers of songs we know and love, multi-talented Detroit composer-keyboardist Motown Moe takes a very different, though still beautiful and elegant, approach to the season with his latest single “Christmas Without You.” It’s a downtempo, rhythmically laid back and atmosphere-laden original offers a thoughtful, reflective melody, expressing a sense of longing, melancholy and memories of times and love gone by. 


Kenney Poloson

This Christmas

Throughout his career, Pacific Northwest-based saxophonist Kenney Polson has lived and performed in over 50 countries and played everything from Latin, classical and new age to funk, R&B, gospel, and jazz. On his fresh, high energy spin on Donny Hathaway’s perennial classic “This Christmas,” he’s all about the soul. While keeping to the spirit of the original, Polson and his band bring a quicker tempo, funkier grooves and deeper emotional urgency via a vibrant production that features a snazzy horn section, more percussion and keys - and Polson himself multi-tasking magnificently on alto, tenor and bass clarinet.