Recorded by Nat 'King' Cole
Arranged by Charles Grean, Re-Scored and Adapted by Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff, Dylan Canterbury, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-9539DL


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Edition: Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Ballad - Medium

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Robert Wells and Mel Tormé wrote The Christmas Song and handed it off to Nat 'King' Cole in 1946 to produce a recording. In June of that year Cole was the first to record the tune, doing so with his piano trio. In August of 1946 Nat Cole would revisit the tune in the recording studio, this time with the backing of Charles Grean's string arrangement. Grean took some melodic and form cues from Cole's piano trio recording. In 1953 Cole would once again revisit this tune, now a very well-known holiday favorite. At this point in Cole's career his main arranger was Nelson Riddle. Due to the commerical success of the Grean-led recording session from 1946 it was decided that Riddle would re-score the original arrangement rather than compose an entirely new setting. While keeping most of the melodic components and the form of the arrangement intact, Riddle re-voiced some of the harmonies in his style. This same arrangement was then used for a 1961 recording session, conducted by Ralph Carmichael.

The 1961 recording is quite possibly one of the most famous and beloved recordings of the 20th Century. For this publication the guitar solo has been transcribed as it was played in the same way for each of the recordings, by both Oscar Moore and John Collins, and is considered integral. Also, specific guitar voicings have been transcribed as they too are an important part of the arrangement.

This publication was based on the set of parts used for the 1953 recording session as well as Charles Grean's 1946 score. The vocal key is Db.

Full Score
3 Violins (6 players minimum)
Acoustic Bass
Drums (Optional)
Vocal Key: Db