It would seem that most everyone is doing a Christmas “Battle of the Bands” this time around. So, in the spirit of the season, I’ll do the same.
In December 1965, CBS broadcast A Charlie Brown Christmas for the very first time. I was nine and a huge Peanuts fan, as was nearly everyone at the time, and for the first time I would have the opportunity to see Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang moving and really talking. By the time the show began, I was really excited. What would the characters sound like? What would they look like walking and dancing and being knocked on their backsides when someone shouts at them?
I don’t think I was ready to fall in love…
Yeah, it was the song. The music. All of a sudden, what everyone looked like and sounded like meant nothing. I had to know who did it, who wrote it, and did he or she do anything else?
That was my introduction to the music of Vince Guaraldi. His music for A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” made me a jazz fan for life.
So, today’s battle is over that song, “Christmastime Is Here.” There have been many, many versions of it recorded, both vocal and instrumental, and today we have two of them.
Our first contestant is an instrumental by guitar god Steve Vai. He played the devil’s guitar player in the 1986 movie Crossroads, but his arrangement of the song is heavenly. From his 2000 album The 7th Song.
Our second contestant is a vocal version by the beautiful Diana Krall. I love her vocal on this one, and the accompaniment is perfect for the performance. From her album Christmas Songs.
As you can probably tell, I’m fond of both versions, for different reasons. (Can you imagine a version by both of them together? The mind boggles.) So, I’d like to get your opinion: which of these appeals to you the most? Please vote in the comments. I’ll publish the results of this battle next Monday.
And, now that you’ve voted on this battle, how about checking out some of the other battles going on today? Lots of great Christmas music here!