A Christmas Jazz Piano Sparkler: “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Dave McKenna

I know.

My Sparklers category is supposed to feature: “Recordings of outstanding performances by noteworthy guitarists – or outstanding guitarists giving noteworthy performances.”

Oh, well! Not today.

Dave McKenna’s Christmas Ivory is very high on my list of all-time-favorite Christmas music albums.

This 16-track collection of unquestionably outstanding and noteworthy solo piano performances was recorded on February 18 & 19, 1997 at the Sound On Sound studio in New York, New York, and released later that year by Concord Jazz.

“Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – written in 1934 by J. Fred Coots & Haven Gillespie – is the opening cut on this effervescent and infectiously joyous recording.

As is written on the back cover of the CD: “There is still no finer vehicle for beautiful music than an exceptional talent playing the sounds of the most wonderful time of the year.”

Sit back and listen for yourself.


Dave McKenna was a New England-based Jazz pianist. He was most highly regarded for his solo work in what came to be known as his “three-handed” swing style of playing.

Born May 30, 1930, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Dave joined the Musicians’ Union at the age of 15. His discography lists over 50 albums starting in 1955 with Solo Piano on Paramount Records and (nearly) concluding with the 2002 Arbors Records release, An Intimate Evening with Dave McKenna. Dave passed away on October 18, 2008.

Concord Jazz re-released Christmas Ivory in 2000 as the unfortunately titled Christmas Cocktail Party: Holiday Piano Spiked With Swing. Either way, it is well worth seeking out and highly recommended as an addition to your Christmas music collection/playlist.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us here at sixstrstories.

May your days be merry, bright and, of course, filled with music.

This entry was posted in Posts with Video, Sparklers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Christmas Jazz Piano Sparkler: “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Dave McKenna

  1. badfinger20 says:

    Gorgeous piano playing…Thanks

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