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When it comes to holiday music, Christmas rules the roost. A DJ can easily play a 5-hour-long set of nothing but Christmas music and never repeat a song. Halloween doesn’t have nearly as many songs dedicated to its themes, but it holds its own against most other holidays. Meanwhile, sandwiched in between, like a slice of turkey between two pieces of bread, is good old Thanksgiving. And though its traditional feast makes Thanksgiving the king of holidays when it comes to eating, from a DJ’s standpoint, the holiday is somewhat lacking. Just what are the great Thanksgiving songs? What are you planning to play in your set next Thursday night??

There are a few of them out there, but for my money the best Thanksgiving song is “Carving the Bird” by Charlie Parker. Not that I’ve ever DJ’ed on Thanksgiving, and I doubt I ever will, but if I did I’d have to sneak this into the mix somewhere. I would probably also have to say “this song is called ‘Carving the Bird’ or something similar, as it is an instrumental, and there would be no way for anyone to even know they were dancing to a holiday-appropriate song; if they’d even dance to Charlier Parker, that is. The right crowd would, but who’s to say the right crowd will hire me to DJ their turkey-related festivities?

I notice that Charlier Parker has quite the bird theme going on with this record. There’s a song on the same album called “Bird’s Nest,” and a picture of a bird on the album cover. Put a bird on it, am I right? I wonder if Parker was playing off his nickname, which was, of course, “Bird,” or if the nickname came later because he put birds on everything.

Beyond that, what a song! This is the style of jazz I love most, from the 1940s bop era. To my admittedly untrained ear, this is Jazz with a capital J, and all the stuff before and after, though often fantastic, is something else… strictly lowercase stuff. What I wouldn’t give to go back and watch Charlie Parker perform in the ’40s. Give me that, a pack of Pall Malls, and a corned beef sandwich– no, wait, carve me a turkey sandwich!– and I’d be good.

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