The Twelve Essential Tracks of Christmas, Day 5: Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters' "Jingle Bells"

The Twelve Essential Tracks of Christmas, Day 5: Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters' "Jingle Bells" December 28, 2013

This track is one of my earliest memories of jazz music. The close harmonies and shimmering big band sound slipped comfortably into my toddler ears and have never gone away since. I still regard it as a model of the class and polish that epitomized jazz playing and singing. Later attempts to mimic this style have never measured up to the real thing. Where Buble and the Puppini Sisters come off smarmy and contrived, Crosby and the Andrews Sisters exude that natural, artless grace which separates a musician of his time from one merely copying what’s gone before. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s…

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters’ “Jingle Bells”
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  • “Smarmy” is such a good word.
    I don’t know why the above is not played more regularly – I am not sure I have heard it. Excellent.
    Re: Buble: I haven’t dug into your Archives to see your opinion(s) of Harry Connick, Jr., but I really enjoy his Christmas music. His musical talent allows him to come up with great new twists on classics. A couple of my favorites are Silver Bells and Frosty from his Harry for the Holidays album (my CD of which I managed to ruin in an embarrassing coffee incident). He has the voice to just try to repeat the classic crooners but he doesn’t do that (or at least not in the stuff of his that I have).

  • Wow, you’ve never heard it? Haven’t you ever shopped in a department store around Christmas? 🙂
    I haven’t written anything about Harry Connick Jr., but in fact I like him a lot. Much better than Buble in a similar vein. He’s the complete package musically—singing, playing, writing, arranging, with the added bonus that he seems like a nice down-to-earth guy and a solid Catholic. Probably has something to do with the fact that he’s been happily married to the same woman for twenty years.

  • John Situmbeko

    This is a neat and impressive arrangement. But since I heard the one by David Phelps and the Hoppers (Kim and Dean) I’ve not found one better. The Phelps & Hoppers’ is fun and playful (almost funny because of the high tempo), yet with serious soaring vocals at the end. You should check it out.

  • Very funny, and hard. How do they breathe? 🙂 But I still prefer the classic arrangement.

  • Marcia

    Just an observation re: 21st century musical expectations/sensibilities vs. earlier eras’ —the Bing Crosby recording mix has almost obliterated the bass parts by mixing them so soft . . . and the vocals are SO hot in the mix. Interesting to note how listening to pop/rock music for several decades has set me (us all?) up to need a strong bass presence in the arrangement and to miss one when it’s not there.

  • Well, I was hooked on 40s music when I was too little to notice or care, so it doesn’t bother me. 🙂