It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas | The A List
Musicians Jeremy Monteiro, Antonia Bennett and Sean Hong Wei share their favourite tunes for getting into the Christmas mood. (Photo: Jeremy Monteiro)

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas | The A List

A treasured ritual of ours, as we eagerly count down the days to Christmas, is putting together our playlist for the festive holidays. Jingle Bells is among our favourites, and we can’t quit All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Not content to settle with just our usual list of evergreen songs, however, we turned to the musicians of A Sweet and Lovely Jazzy Christmas concert, happening on 21 December at the Esplanade, for ideas.

We asked jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro, singer Antonia Bennett – daughter of legendary crooner Tony Bennett – and saxophonist Sean Wei Hong, for songs on their personal Christmas playlists, and if they sometimes secretly wish for a break from hearing these tunes. Their honest answers did not disappoint. See what they have to say below.

Pianist, singer and composer Jeremy Monteiro

I love Christmas songs and I wish I could play them all-year. But playing them too early causes them to lose their special seasonal feel, so I usually wait until late-Nov.

I like to listen to songs that channel the spirit of Christmas, even if they might not be traditional Christmas tunes. So, that means songs like What a Wonderful World and A Child Is Born. The latter song, by jazz trumpeter Thad Jones, is part of our Christmas concert programme.

For traditional Christmas songs, I enjoy ballads like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and silly ones like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, which is always fun to listen to.

Singer Antonia Bennett

I usually start listening to Christmas songs after the American holiday Thanksgiving. By then, Christmas lights are usually up, and you can feel everyone getting into the Christmas mood.

I love to listen to My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music. It’s not quite a Christmas song, but it was always played around our house during Christmas, so I think of it during the season. I also love The Christmas Song. It has such a beautiful melody. It was written by the great Mel Torme, who was living in Los Angeles during the time I was growing up, and from time to time, I would get to hear him sing it in person at our friends’ Christmas parties. Last but not the least of my favourites is Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It’s a classic and all the kids simply love it.

Saxophonist Sean Hong Wei

The songs that really get me into the Christmas mood are This Christmas and White Christmas. I especially enjoy listening to White Christmas because it’s a holiday classic and there’s a 1948 recording of the song by one of my favourite saxophonists, Charlie Parker.

When it comes to Christmas songs, if there’s an occasion that calls for the songs to be played, I’ll play them. For me, there’s never a time when it’s too early to play Christmas music.

The replies have been edited and condensed. Details on A Sweet and Lovely Jazzy Christmas here.


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