Ellis Marsalis – A New Orleans Christmas Carol


Out of stock


Release Date: 2011

Label: ELM Records

Track List


  • 1 O Tannenbaum
  • 2 Little Drummer Boy
  • 3 We Three Kings
  • 4 Child Is Born
  • 5 God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
  • 6 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  • 7 O Holy Night
  • 8 Winter Wonderland
  • 9 Christmas Time Is Here
  • 10 Little Town of Bethlehem
  • 11 Silent Night
  • 12 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • 13 Christmas Is Here
  • 14 Sleigh Ride
  • 15 What Child Is This
  • 16 Christmas Song
  • 17 We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • 18 Winter Wonderland [Remix]
  • 19 Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  • 20 The Little Drummer Boy [Remix]



  • Ellis Marsalis – piano
  • Bill Huntington, Peter Harris – bass
  • Jason Marsalis – drums, percussion, vibraphone
  • Roman Skakun – vibraphone
  • Cynthia Liggins Thomas – vocal
  • Johnaye Kendrick – vocal



The elder statesmen of the best known family working in jazz today tackles a long list of timeless tunes in various configurations, from solo piano to quartet, and the resultant music is a display of pure pleasure and beauty. While the title of the album might lead some to believe that NOLA-slanted arrangements are plentiful, with second line grooves or Meters-style funk forthcoming, that’s not the case. Marsalis merely uses the name of this collection to indicate from whence this wonderful music came.

In some places, Marsalis’ playing simply evokes imagery of a family surrounding the piano to soak in the warm and tender sounds of the season on Christmas Eve (“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”), but the majority of this music swings, sways and/or soothes in seemingly effortless fashion. Solos are succinct and stylish, and the arrangements are classy and charming.

Particularly notable performances include a trio take on Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” a warm interpretation of Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown-associated “Christmas Time Is Here,” which features some fine vibraphone work from Jason Marsalis, and a rendition of “We Three Kings” that’s built in the image of McCoy Tyner. “Christmas Joy,” which features vocalist Johnaye Kendrick, is the better of the two vocal numbers on the record, but Cynthia Liggins Thomas’ vocal performance on Thad Jones’ “A Child Is Born” is far from second rate.





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