Jimmy Smith - We Three Kings (Of Orient Are) 1964 (get it)

Christmas Cookin’ is one of my all-time favorite jazz records, and hands-down my favorite Christmas album. It is both subtle and dramatic, instantly nostalgic, yet never saccharin, and swings like a motherfucker from start to finish.

Every year I play two songs when I’m ready to be swept up in the holiday spirit: Jimmy Smith’s version of We Three Kings, and Fairytale of New York, by the Pogues. I have other seasonal favorites, but these two tracks are essential.