Announcing the release of Big Band Holidays II by The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis featuring Aretha Franklin’s Previously Unreleased Performance of “O Tannenbaum”

(The JLCO trumpet section during a Big Band Holidays concert)

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with the release of Big Band Holidays II, a sequel to a beloved and festive album released in 2015 and performed live by the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Big Band Holidays II includes an electric, never-before-released solo piano performance of “O Tannenbaum” by Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul sang the holiday classic in English and German, while accompanying herself on piano, at a surprise performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2015 Big Band Holiday’s concert. “O Tannenbaum” exclusively on Big Band Holidays II, is one of only a handful of tracks to be released since Franklin’s passing on August 16, 2018.

Additional guests on Big Band Holidays II include some of today’s commanding new voices in jazz: Catherine Russell, Veronica Swift, Denzal Sinclaire, and Audrey Shakir. This newest collection of holiday classics is now available for pre-order and will be available on all digital platforms on October 25, 2019, in stores as a CD on November 8, 2019, and available on 2xLP audiophile vinyl later in the holiday season.

The Big Band Holidays concerts have been a New York City holiday tradition among jazz lovers and families for more than a decade. Every December, the critically acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and an all-star roster of guest vocalists explore the canon of holiday standards and perform both new and traditional arrangements of Yuletide favorites. Blue Engine Records has assembled highlights from these historical performances to make them available on record for the first time.

Big Band Holidays II tracks include holiday favorites “Silver Bells,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “Silent Night” and feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s signature sense of swing, New Orleans-flavored nuances, and deeply soulful and church-rooted grooves.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra bassist Carlos Henriquez says, “The orchestra members work hard to arrange classic holiday songs that we then collaborate on with great singers. The holiday season is about family and soulful music — it doesn’t get any better!”

To celebrate this special Blue Engine Records release, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Alexis Morrast will embark on a 12-city Big Band Holidays U.S. Tour. Kicking off the holiday season with messages of peace and good cheer, the Big Band Holidays tour commences on November 30 in Toronto, Canada and ends with four performances December 18-22, including a special matinee at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, located at Broadway at 60th Street in New York, New York.


1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Written by Edward Pola & George Wyle
Arranged by Wynton Marsalis
Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Victor Goines (clarinet), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Dan Nimmer (piano), Ted Nash (flute)

2. Cool Yule (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Steve Allen
Arranged by Sherman Irby
Soloists: Walter Blanding (tenor saxophone), Sherman Irby (alto saxophone)

3. We Three Kings (ft. Denzal Sinclaire)

Written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr.
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Dan Nimmer (piano), Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone)

4. O Tannenbaum (ft.Aretha Franklin)

Written by Ernst Anschütz

5. Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

Arranged by Ted Nash
Soloist: Marcus Printup (trumpet)

6. (Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag (ft. Veronica Swift)

Written by Harold Stanley, Irving Taylor & Dudley Brooks
Arranged by Walter Blanding
Soloists: Veronica Swift (vocals), Vincent Gardner (trombone)

7. What Will Santa Claus Say? (When He Finds Everybody Swingin’) (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Louis Prima
Arranged by Chris Crenshaw
Soloists: Paul Nedzela (baritone saxophone), Ali Jackson (drums)

8. Brazilian Sleigh Bells

Written by Percy Faith
Arranged by Carlos Henriquez
Soloists: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Bruce Harris (trumpet), Sherman Irby (alto saxophone)

9. Silver Bells (ft. Catherine Russell)

Written by Ray Evans & Jay Livingston
Arranged by Ali Jackson
Soloists: Vincent Gardner (trombone), Ted Nash (flute), Dan Nimmer (piano)

10. Snowfall

Written by Claude Thornhill
Arranged by Sherman Irby
Soloist: Wynton Marsalis (trumpet)

11. Silent Night (ft. Denzal Sinclaire)

Written by Franz Gruber & Joseph Mohr
Arranged by Victor Goines
Soloists: James Chirillo (guitar), Kenny Rampton (trumpet)




Sherman Irby – alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute; music director (2015-2016)
Ted Nash – alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute
Victor Goines – music director (2018); tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet
Walter Blanding (2015 – 2017) – tenor saxophone, clarinet, shaker
Paul Nedzela – baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
*Camille Thurman (2018) – tenor and soprano saxophones


Marcus Printup
Kenny Rampton
Wynton Marsalis (music director, 2017/18)
*Ryan Kisor (2015, 2017-2018)
*Greg Gisbert (2016)
*Bruce Harris (2016)
*Tatum Greenblatt (2017)


Vincent Gardner
Chris Crenshaw
Elliot Mason (2015-2016, 2018)
*Sam Chess (2017)
*Eric Miller (2018)


Dan Nimmer – piano Carlos Henriquez – bass Ali Jackson (2015-2016) – drums
*Marion Felder (2017) – drums
*Charles Goold (2018) – drums


Aretha Franklin – vocals and piano
Audrey Shakir – vocals
Denzal Sinclaire vocals
Catherine Russell – vocals
Veronica Swift – vocals
James Chirillo – guitar

* indicates substitute orchestra member

*About Blue Engine Records*Blue Engine Records, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s platform that makes its vast archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere, launched on June 30, 2015. Blue Engine Records releases new studio and live recordings as well as archival recordings from Jazz at Lincoln Center’s performance history that date back to 1987 and are part of the R. Theodore Ammon Archives and Music Library. Since the institution’s founding in 1987, each year’s programming is conceived and developed by Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis with a vision toward building a comprehensive library of iconic and wide-ranging compositions that, taken together, make up a canon of music. These archives include accurate, complete charts for the compositions – both old and new – performed each season. Coupled with consistently well-executed and recorded music performed by Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, this archive has grown to include thousands of songs from hundreds of concert dates. The launch of Blue Engine is aligned with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s efforts to cultivate existing jazz fans worldwide and turn new audiences on to jazz. For more information on Blue Engine Records, visit

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