The 12 sounds of Christmas

December is here and it’s time to make merry!

Pohutukawa and music notes

Break out the ugly Christmas shirts, decorate the house and surrounds, start thinking about that all-conquering Christmas lunch, and sing a happy tune – but which tune…?

Here are some ideas to give you the soundtrack of seasonal festivity that you deserve! ūüôā

The 12 Sounds of Christmas

List created by DevilStateDan

The merry season is finally upon us so let’s kick start our festive cheer with some suitably Christmassy tunes to accompany you through the month of merry-making!

Felice navidad, joyeaux noel, and meri kirihimete!!

  • The Absolute Best Christmas Album in the World– Ever!¬†Well this album is talking some BIG festive talk! What a collection of songs and artists though and it’ll surely set you up in the right merry spirit.
  • The Ultimate Classical Christmas¬†Or maybe you prefer a classical kind of Christmas…!? Here’s a beaut collection of orchestral merriment.
  • Christmas Duets¬†Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without ol’Elvis belting out some suitably festive crooning – don’t have a blue Christmas, get some Elvis!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas¬†From Chuck Berry to Brenda Lee – you can’t go wrong when you’re rockin’ out your Christmas with these tunes.
  • A Country Christmas¬†Another star studded compilation and is it just me or does Christmas music really lend itself beautifully to the country genre…!?
  • This Christmas¬†Who knew!?!? The legend of John Travolta, along with some of his friends (including jazz legend Chick Corea!) sharing the merriment with us.
  • Putumayo presents Latin Christmas¬†A world view here with some Latin Christmas rhythms and vibes, a good one for a lively Christmas gathering!
  • Merry Christmas, Baby¬†Rockin’ Rod Stewart giving it the Christmas treatment..?? What’s not to love!?
  • James Taylor at Christmas¬†Some mellow Christmas vibes from the great James Taylor, for a nice cruisey Christmas.
  • Christmas¬†The big sounds of Celtic Thunder doing Christmas. Expect some matinee cabaret gold!
  • Christmas in the Heart¬†How does Bob Dylan do Christmas!? Very nicely as it turns out!
  • The Christmas Album¬†Frank Sinatra is a December constant in my family – no-one does Christmas better then Frank!

View Full List ¬Ľ

Prefer to get your music online? See Simone’s recommendations for Christmas playlists from our online streaming services.

Falalalala – Christmas music playlists

Christmas music is marmite kind of thing you either love it or hate it. Research by psychologists have found that listening to too much Christmas music too early has a detrimental effect one’s mental health, especially for those who work in retail.

If you are hosting the family or friends during this festive season you may want some background music that you haven’t heard a million times over at the mall. We have some excellent music streaming services¬† such as Alexander Street Music Online, Naxos Music Library and Naxos Jazz. Using these resources you can find some curated Christmas Music Playlists with classical and jazz Christmas music that won’t drive you nuts.

Classical Christmas Music

Christmas Jazz Music

If you would like to check what other Christmas albums are available check Alexander Street Music Online and Naxos Music Library and Naxos Jazz.

Or for CDs from our collection check out Dan’s Christmas music picks.

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The Gig Guide: July 2017

Planning on attending a concert, show, or gig in Christchurch? Then why not take a look at what we’ve got of that artist’s back catalogue?






What gigs are you looking forward to in the near future? Anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the comments.

The Gig Guide: June 2017

Planning on attending a concert, show, or gig in Christchurch? Then why not take a look at what we’ve got of that artist’s back catalogue?






What gigs are you looking forward to in the near future? Anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the comments.

All that jazz – Naxos Music Library Jazz is our newest music eResource

We have a new streaming music service ‚ÄĒ¬†Naxos Music Library Jazz. Good timing for jazz-lovers as the Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival starts here in Christchurch next week!

Naxos Music Library Jazz has over 9000 jazz albums from over 32,000 artists including luminaries like Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, and Ella Fitzgerald. It features music from some of the most renowned jazz labels including Blue Note Records, Warner Jazz, EMI, Fantasy and Enja. Use at a library or enter your library card and password/PIN.

Growing up in a house where jazz was often the music of choice, I found all the music from my childhood ‚ÄĒ Miles, Oscar, Ella,¬†Charlie Parker, Nina Simone …


If you are not sure where to start, there are some great playlists. Depending on your jazz tilt, you could try Thelonious Monk from the Piano Legends, or John Coltrane if a saxophone is more your thing. If you’re¬†looking to Take the “A” Train, Take Five, or My Funny Valentine they are all here ‚ÄĒ and boy do these cats know how to play. Can you dig it? Yes you can.

See more of our music eResources.

The Gig Guide: May 2017

Planning on attending a concert, show, or gig in Christchurch? Then why not take a look at what we’ve got of that artist’s back catalogue?


May presents many more opportunities to listen to music than usual in Christchurch with New Zealand Music Month performances at a library near you including Adam McGrath of The Eastern, as well as the Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival.

What gigs are you looking forward to in the near future? Anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the comments.

Music finds a way … The Piano to open this weekend

This coming Sunday there is a special event happening in Christchurch city with The Piano Centre for Music and the Arts opening its doors in Armagh Street. The new facility looks great and it houses some brilliant performance spaces, teaching suites and rehearsal rooms. Here’s the calendar of upcoming events. It will be the main venue for the upcoming WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival.

The reopening is to feature a legend of New Zealand and Christchurch jazz, Mr Doug Caldwell. At 88 years of age & 70+ years of playing and exploring jazz piano, he’s a true master of the craft. As a fixture of the local music scene for so long, it’s fitting that he should be the one featured to reopen this new music centre, performing in the 340-seat Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon. Read Charlie Gates’ article in The Press: Christchurch jazz legend Doug Caldwell first to play new Piano music centre.

It’s not often recognised but New Zealand and Australia has a jazz history that runs as deep & as filled with quality that it rivals the American traditions. There are some truly great jazz musicians from our region and they deserve celebration, from the Australian greats; Graeme Bell, Don Burrows and James Morrison – all masters of their particular eras, to Kiwis Mike Nock, Roger Manins and Christchurch’s own Doug Caldwell.

Christchurch City Libraries holds a swathe of resources around the topic of New Zealand jazz. There are booklists on the subject, including sheet music from jazz composers from across NZ – a Kiwi version of the ever-present jazz “Real Book“. There’s also listening lists featuring contemporary artists as well as the more traditional, vocal & instrumental, PLUS a host of resources available for in-library use through our Aotearoa New Zealand Collection (ANZC)

I myself am a keen fan of jazz having studied and played in Tasmania before relocating to Christchurch and connecting with some of the local talent here, with whom I continue my explorations, utilising many of these resources to enrich my experiences and hopefully champion what I know to be a strong seam of cultural history worth celebrating and sharing.

Get along to see the concert & then get busy with your library card & see what else we’ve got – it’s a lot!

The Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival 2016

Jazz and blues FestivalThe Cavell Leitch New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival is coming to Christchurch from the 25 to 29 May 2016. Discover more about the Festival, and the jazz and blues resources in our collection.

2016 performers

Ramsey LewisMulti Grammy Award winning jazz pianist and composer, Ramsey Lewis will perform with The Ramsey Lewis Quartet at the Isaac Theatre Royal on Thursday 26 May.

25th Anniversary Gala Concert celebrates 25 years of the Jazz School in Christchurch and the concert will feature ‚Äėeverything‚Äô Christchurch Jazz at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Wednesday 25 May.

Jazz Dine will take place at the George Hotel and Dormer Jazz and Blues Club at The Gym at The Arts Centre. The club will host a selection of festival shows.

The Jazz in the City series includes special performances by Tami Neilson, Sal Valentine & The Babyshakes, and the Hipstamatics.

Find Jazz and Blues Festival performers’ works in our collection

Hetty KateRangi RuruTami Neilson

Images supplied by the Cavell Leitch NZ Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and blues in our collection

Jazz and blues eResources

Jazz Music Library includes works licensed from legendary record labels, including Audiophile, Concord Jazz, Jazzology, Milestone, Nessa Records, Original Jazz Classics, Pablo, and Prestige. Also included are Marian McPartland’s Peabody Award winning Piano Jazz Radio Broadcasts and never before released performances from the Monterey Jazz Festival and great jazz venues. Listen online to 1000s of great jazz tracks.

American Song provides online access to over 100,000 tracks from every genre and music period of American history.

Cover of 'Jazz' Cover Cover

The Gig Guide: May to July 2016

Planning on attending a concert, show, or gig in Christchurch? Then why not take a look at what we’ve got of that artist’s back catalogue?


Kidscover of Mister Maker Let's make more



What gigs are you looking forward to in the near future? Anything we’ve missed? Do let us know in the comments.

Recent necrology, November 2013

cover for Andy WarholA list of well-known people who have died recently:

  • John Cloudsley-Thompson, 1921-2013
    Desert naturalist who toured the Sahara after an eventful war in which he faced an SS panzer ace
  • Arthur Danto, 1924-2013
    Critic who championed Warhol’s work and proclaimed the death of art as we had known it
  • Chico Hamilton, 1921-2013
    Drummer who brought the flute and cello to the jazz scene, dividing critics
  • Doris Lessing, 1919-2013
    Prizewinning novelist and feminist flag-bearer whose controversial bestsellers stretched the boundaries of realist fiction
  • Andro Linklater, 1944-2013
    Writer of intellect and panache whose curiosity took him from headhunters to the Hebrides
  • John Tavener, 1944-2013
    Composer admired by the Beatles who turned from playboy to icon of contemplative music
  • Paul Walker, 1973-2013
    American actor best known for his roles in the Fast and Furious action movies
  • Frank Wess, 1922-2013
    Saxophonist who also made his mark on the flute playing with Count Basie