I discovered John Altenburgh's Christmas at Buzz's Restaurant online as Christmas 2000 approached, more or less giving birth to one of my personal holiday traditions.
That year, we were immersed in a major web project at my job, and I worked through it while listening to the jazz and blues renditions from
His versions of standards such as "Silent Night" and "O' Christmas Tree" with piano accompaniment help set a perfect holiday mood.
The original tunes compliment the mix and comprise my favorites on the disk. "Christmas Story" with its bouncy tune and wry lyrics such as "The sugar plum fairy got run out of town..." make it a wry addition to a Christmas playlist.
The title track is a soft, sentimental song harkening back to a bygone time made hazy and more romantic by memory. It has rich imagery of a place once real now lost. Buzz's is a place we all recall as we build up a list of Christmases past that likely outnumbers those Christmases yet to come.
Now the bad news - I think "Christmas at Buzz's" is out of print and it's on Altenburgh's own label which unfortunately isn't represented on iTunes.
You have to seek it out on the web. I bought mine after the Yahoo streaming version stopped being available, but I'm glad I did.