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Ellis Marsalis's New Orleans Christmas Carol
Esther Callens (The Birmingham Times)
That time of year is almost upon us again and before you know it everyone will be decking halls and wassailing. To get everyone in the mood, Ellis Marsalis has released a marvelous compilation just in time for all the upcoming Christmas festivities. A New Orleans Christmas Carol, its title, is a special jazz compilation featuring a plethora of holiday favorites. With an October 11th street date, A New Orleans Christmas Carols can appease even the mean scroogeous of persons.
Christmas is a time to gather with family and friends just for one reason—to celebrate the Savior’s birth. It is during this time when spirits should be high as everyone basks in an unfathomable amount of joy. Ellis Marsalis recorded A New Orleans Christmas Carol to help set the atmosphere during this most memorable time of year.
A New Orleans Christmas Carol opens with a traditional version of “O Tannenbaum.” It is a very short but sweet piano solo. A wonderful take on “Greensleeves” is eloquently executed. The vibraphone brings a lot of character to this traditional piece as well as “Hark The Herald Angels Sings.” Cynthia Liggins Thomas lends her amazing voice to “A Child Is Born.” It is splendid.
Two very spirited renditions of “The Little Drummer Boy” are offered. With the drums taking center stage (naturally), they are quite funky. Additionally, “We Three Kings” opens with strong percussions that eventually transitions into a marvelous jazz montage. “Christmas Joy” is a beautiful track that is sure to become a Christmas classic. It is an Ellis Marsalis original that consists of the exquisite vocals of Johnaye Kendrick. “God Rest You Merry Gentlemen”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “The Christmas Song”, “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” are just a few of the twenty holiday masterpieces that are included. Furthermore, there are a variety of varying bonuses on the deluxe album, iTunes exclusive gold edition and the Amazon Digital Music Card that are to be released in October and mid-November. A New Orleans Christmas is bound to become a staple on many Christmas playlists as it is a fantastic collection by one of jazz’s greatest giants – Ellis Marsalis. It is a Nu Jazz Entertainment release. (11/9/1)