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Traditions Old and New: 'Jazz Piano Christmas'

Legendary pianists mix with promising newcomers at the Jazz Piano Christmas, recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The 16th edition of the annual concert features "Long Tall" Marcia Ball and Hilton Ruiz. The legendary Dr. Billy Taylor joined in to play jazzy renditions of holiday classics, as did a favorite duo: percussionist Pete Escovedo and vibraphonist Dave Samuels.

Another pairing was trombonist Slide Hampton and pianist Daniela Schachter, who produced a heartfelt rendition of "Christmas Time Is Here," the song made famous by the Peanuts gang.

From Ball's infectious boogie-blues to Ruiz's Latin bebop, the performers put their mark on the standards -- and then joined one another onstage for a grand finale: "Silent Night." The event was hosted by Fred Child, of the public radio program Performance Today.

Set List:

  • "Let It Snow" - Daniela Schaechter
  • "Christmas Time Is Here" - Slide Hampton w/ Daniela Schaechter
  • "Sleigh Ride" - Dave Samuels w/ Pete Escovedo
  • "Angels We Have Heard on High" - Dave Samuels w/ Pete Escovedo
  • "Kings of the Orient" - Hilton Ruiz
  • "Christmas In Old New Orleans" - Marcia Ball
  • "Boogie Woogie Santa" - Marcia Ball
  • "Merry Christmas" - Dr. Billy Taylor
  • "Silent Night" - Round Robin

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