Music: Sounds of the Season
There's a lot of Christmas jazz out there, but the musicianship can be hit and miss - pick the wrong CD, and suddenly your holiday gathering sounds like the inside of a dentist's office. If you'd like to avoid this sort of faux pas, I recommend "Sounds of the Season", an album of tunes written and performed by students from the University of Miami.
UM's Frost School of Music hosts one of the nation's top jazz programs, and this album was shepherded along by some noteworthy faculty, including Grammy-nominated jazz writing professor Gary M. Lindsay. At heart, though, the tracks were arranged, performed, and produced by students working their tails off. All the hard work paid off - the arrangements and performances here are uniformly excellent.
My favorite song is, conveniently enough, Rafael Picolotto de Lima's version of "My Favorite Things," featuring vocals and piano by Ariel Pocock: