The Best Jazz Christmas Songs to Play on Piano

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s Christmas time and what better way to spread some holiday cheer than by playing some great jazz Christmas songs on the piano. Here is a list of some of the best jazz Christmas songs to play on piano.

What is Jazz?

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a style of music that is characterized by syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, and improvised solos. Jazz has been influenced by other genres of music such as blues, gospel, and European classical music.

The history of Jazz

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as “America’s classical music”. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime.

The elements of Jazz

The basis of most Jazz is the blues, a form of music that arose in the Deep South of America at the end of the 19th century from the work songs and spirituals of African American slaves and continued to be developed by their descendants in the rural southern states. The characteristic 12-bar blues chord progression – based on repeats of a simple pattern of chords – became a central part of Jazz as it was developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century.

In addition to the blues, two other types of music were important early influences on Jazz: ragtime and marching band music. Ragtime was a popular piano style in which each phrase was played as a continuous stream of 8th notes (quavers), with accents on specific beats to create a “ragging” rhythm. Marching band music was characterised by its strong rhythm, which was played by brass instruments, woodwind instruments and percussion instruments, and often featured “call and response” between different sections. These elements were all incorporated into early Jazz.

What are the best Jazz Christmas songs to play on piano?

Christmas is a great time to relax and enjoy some beautiful Jazz music on the piano. There are many great Jazz Christmas songs out there, but which ones are the best? In this article, we will list some of our favourites and explain why they are so great.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Billie Holiday

This Christmas classic has been recorded by countless artists over the years, but there is something special about Billie Holiday’s version. Her emotive vocal performance is matched by her sensitive piano playing, making this one of the best Jazz Christmas songs to play on piano.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Thelonious Monk

This classic Christmas song was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934, and has been covered by many artists over the years. Thelonious Monk’s version is one of the most popular and well-known, and makes a great choice for jazz piano players looking for a festive tune to play during the holidays.

“Winter Wonderland” by Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald’s silky-smooth voice is the perfect accompaniment to this classic holiday tune. First recorded in 1934, this song has been covered by many artists over the years, but Fitzgerald’s version is still one of the best.

“Jingle Bells” by Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington’s version of “Jingle Bells” is a classic Christmas song that can be played on piano. This holiday classic is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit!

“White Christmas” by Miles Davis

One of the most popular Jazz Christmas songs is “White Christmas” by Miles Davis. This tune is a great choice for piano players, as it has a catchy melody and a fun chord progression. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can try improvising over the chord changes.

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