Sunday, Dec. 23 at 6am – Morehouse / Spelman Glee Clubs Christmas Special
One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges — two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation — get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This year’s program features the best works of the last several years. It’s a joyous celebration of the schools’ tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.
Monday, Dec. 24 at 9 pm – Joy to the World
Joy to the World is a one-hour live performance holiday jazz program hosted by pianist Bob Thompson. Produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting in Charleston, WV for 16 years, the show is performed before a consistently sold-out audience at Charleston’s Cultural Center Theater. Joy To The World has traditionally been the kickoff to the holiday season in Charleston. Each year Bob invites a guest vocalist to join his band to add some swing to the holiday special.
This year’s Joy to the World features special guest vocalist Dwight Lenox. Growing up in New York, Dwight honed his talent in the church choir. He went on to study and perform musical styles as diverse as country and rock ‘n’ roll. But his gospel roots, combined with such childhood influences as Nancy Wilson, Nat Cole and Sarah Vaughn, made jazz a natural showcase for his talent. For Joy To The World, Thompson applies his expansive jazz vocabulary to some favorite holiday tunes, adding a fresh perspective to the songs that evoke those well-known feelings of the season. The individuality of the guest vocalist always plays a unique role in the interpretation and arrangement of the holiday material, making each year’s performance as fresh as the season’s first snow.
Tuesday, Dec.25 at 8pm – Jazz Piano Christmas
NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NEA Jazz Master Ellis Marsalis, Jason Moran, Geri Allen, Taylor Eigsti, and other artists perform their favorite holiday songs.
Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 9pm – Big Band Christmas
Make the holidays merry and bright with this swinging Yuletide concert by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. In a city known for jazz, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra features some of the city’s finest jazz musicians. The orchestra’s annual Christmas concert features a bounty of seasonal favorites, done in sparkling big band arrangements. This year’s show includes standards like The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Let It Snow, Sleigh Ride and The Christmas Song, plus a dash of KC blues in the Santa Claus Blues, along with Donny Hathaway’s This Time of Year. Joining the orchestra are vocalists Ron Gutierrez and David Basse. Recorded live at historic Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS.
Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 9pm – “A Season’s Griot”
“A Season’s Griot” is public radio’s only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Hosted by acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson, this annual one-hour special captures the tales and traditions of African-American and African peoples.
Monday, Dec. 31 from 9pm to 4am on Tuesday, Jan. 1 – NPR’s Annual Toast of the Nation
To celebrate 2012 and ring in 2013, Toast of the Nation is music all night from coast to coast, with midnights in the four continental US time zones. Remember: you can repeat Toast of the Nation all day New Years Day. Toast of the Nation is co-produced by WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark and NPR Music. Artists TBA soon.