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Pianist Christian Sands shares his 'Christmas Stories' for the holidays

Christian Sands
Raj Naik
Christian Sands

One of the finest traditions of the holiday season is the sharing of stories. The elders telling tales of yesteryear, family catching up on the year and children reading fables of flying reindeer and talking snowmen.

Pianist and composer Christian Sands regales us with holiday wonders old and new from his latest album, Christmas Stories. Christian adds new color to the traditional with joyous arrangements ("Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") and celebrates the Christmastime he remembers from his childhood as a '90s kid in Connecticut ("Snow Dayz" and the other side of the experience, "Shoveling").

More than anything, this project is about taking stock of life and the world around you during the season. "Christmas is one of those times where everyone is together. And it's also a reflection of who's not here ... whether it's a loved one that's passed away, or someone has moved away," Sands says. "But it's also a reflection of newness, too ... baby's first Christmas; you might have a new relationship .... Christmas is about the reflection of the old, but it's also the excitement of what's to come."


Christian Sands, piano, keyboards; Yasushi Nakamura, bass; Ryan Sands, drums; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Max Light, guitar; Jimmy Green, tenor saxophone; Keita Ogawa, percussion; Andrew Joslyn, violin, viola; Eli Weinberger, cello

Set List:

  • "Jingle Bells" (James Lord Pierpont)
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane)
  • "Sleigh Ride" (Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)
  • "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" (Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn)
  • "Snow Dayz" (Christian Sands)
  • "Shoveling" (Sands)
  • "Silent Night" (Franz Xaver Gruber, Joseph Mohr)
  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Traditional)
  • "Last Christmas" (Sands)


Trevor Smith, writer and producer; Ron Scalzo, episode mix; Keith Jenkins, vice president of visuals and strategy at NPR Music; Christian McBride, host.

Special thanks to Matthew Jurasek, Jan Mullen and Mark Rini.

Copyright 2023 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

Trevor Smith
Trevor joined the WBGO Development Department in April of 2017 and currently handles grant writing and institutional giving initiatives as the Coordinator of Corporate and Foundation Relations.Since graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2011, Trevor has worked extensively in the jazz community in fundraising, events, and artist management capacities.