This month, Doc Watkins and his Orchestra have been swinging into the Christmas season at Jazz, TX with Big Band Christmas performances of holiday standards. Doc Watkins, bandleader and club owner, says it’s been sold out every night—and the crowd loves the old tunes, for good reason.
“I think one of the things that I really love about the Christmas songbook is it's part of the American songbook, which, as jazz musicians, that's what we primarily play. a lot of the standards of American Songbook you know are kind of gradually becoming less familiar to audiences,” Watkins says. “If you were back in the 1940s and you were playing Cole Porter tunes or George Gershwin tunes, most people in the audience would know them. That's not necessarily the case today. But with Christmas music, everybody knows those songs!”
Being a musician, Watkins has almost always worked on Christmas Eve. But this year is different, since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday. So, he says, he’ll spend some time at home.
“My biggest tradition is that I've never worked on Christmas Day, and never plan to. We always get up do presents, and hang out… make a bunch of food, eat a big dinner at 3:00 and have a ham and turkey and all that stuff, and just spend the day with family. [This year], my sisters are coming in for Christmas Day and my brothers will be there, my mom will be there. So we're going to have a good time.”
Merry Christmas, and enjoy this special episode of “Live At Jazz, TX” on Saturday night at 7:00 on Texas Public Radio, or listen now in the audio player below. This episode is sponsored by Whole Earth Provision Company.