Ellis Marsalis

A New Orleans Christmas Carol (Digital Music Card)

Christmas Time … The most festive season of them all…A time to celebrate, a time for family gatherings, and a time to reflect on the greater joys of life. The new album from 2011 NEA Jazz Master, Ellis Marsalis, A New Orleans Christmas Carol, does just that! In this rousing rendition of timeless holiday classics, Ellis Marsalis pays homage to the season and that special spirit of joy so ever present at this time of year.


In this sumptuous holiday feast of aural delight, Ellis performs in (4) separate context: Solo Piano; Piano Trio; Piano Quartet with Vibes; and a Piano Quartet with a Vocalist. Ellis Marsalis is supported in Trio formats with Bill Huntington or Peter Harris on Bass, and Jason Marsalis on Drums; in Piano Quartet with Vibes (with Roman Skakun or Jason Marsalis on Vibes), and in Piano Quartet with a Vocalist (with Cynthia Liggins Thomas or Johnaye Kendrick on Vocals). Ellis Marsalis rings in the holiday season, by opening the album with a thoughtfully stated solo piano piece, O Tannenbaum. The album quickly segues into a funky version of The Little Drummer Boy (featuring 2011 NEA Jazz Master, Jason Marsalis), and then into a “McCoy Tynerish” rendition of We Three Kings of Orient Are. The smooth and crisp vocals of Cynthia Liggins Thomas on A Child Is Born recalls the wonder every parent must feel at a child’s birth, while the silky and sultry voice of Johnaye Kendrick sets forth grand tidings for all on the Ellis Marsalis original, Christmas Joy.



Ellis Marsalis - piano

Bill Huntington - bass

Jason Marsalis - drum set & percussion, vibraphone (7, 9, 17, 19)

Peter Harris - bass (13, 14, 18)

Roman Skakun - vibraphone (3, 6, 11, 15)

Cynthia Liggins Thomas - vocal (4)

Johnaye Kendrick - vocal (13)


Produced By: Jerald Miller for Nu Jazz Entertainment

Digital Artwork Design: Jerald Miller

PDF Liner Notes Design: Pablo Secca

Liner Notes: Emilie Pons

CD Artwork: Susan Young

Art Direction: Jason Marsalis

Design and Manufacturing: Diana Thornton for Crescent Music Services, www.crescentmusic.com


Executive Producer: Ellis Marsalis & Jerald Miller

Producer: Jason MarsalisEngineer: Ben Lorio

Tracks 3-4,6,10-11,16 were recorded by Tim Stambaugh at Word of Mouth on Oct. 9, 2002.

Tracks 2,5,7-9,15 were recorded by Tim Stambaugh at Word of Mouth on Oct. 11, 2002.

Tracks 17, 19-20 recorded by Steve Reynolds at Ultrasonic Sudios Jan 9th 2003

Tracks 1, 12-14 recorded by Chris Finney at Music Shed on Feb. 12th, 2010

Track 18 recorded on Dec. 29, 2009 and edited on May 31, 2011 by Wesley Fontenot at Piety Studios

Vibraphone on tracks 3, 6, 11, and 15 recorded at Word of Mouth on Mar. 21st, 2010 and tracks 7 and 9 recorded at Word of Mouth on Oct. 11, 2002.

Editing and Mixing: May-June 2011 at Music Shed

Mastering: Mark Wilder

Additional Mastering & Post Production Audio: Jeremy Pildis & Jerald Miller


Album Background by Jason Marsalis and Special Thanks:


Nine years ago, we released a CD entitled “Jazz at Christmas in New Orleans”. It was an abbreviated version of this album with generic artwork and the music clocking in at approximately 45 minutes. After being surprised by the result of the music, we decided to expand the CD to include new artwork and more music to make it a more worthwhile experience. We want to take this time to thank everyone who was involved in transforming this CD into what it is now. First, we would like to acknowledge Reverend David Albert Boileau from Mater Dolorosa Church in New Orleans who left this earth on January 24, 2011. He would request my son and I to play at the church services on the Sunday before Christmas.


The concerts were piano and vibraphone duets. A very special thanks to the original players on the recording; bassist Bill Huntington and vocalist Cynthia Thomas. Also Thelonious Monk Institute graduate and vocalist Johnaye Kendrick, bassist Peter Harris, and vibraphonist Roman Skakun for their contributions to the additional music. Engineers Tim Stambaugh at Word of Mouth studio, Steve Reynolds at Ultrasonic Studios, Chris Finney and the Music Shed studio, and Mark Bingham, Wesley Fontenot, and Piety Street studio for recording the music. Jason also thanks Susan Young for the wonderful artwork and the patience to put it all together (and also having a legitimate reason to be on the thank you list). Libra Lagone and French Quarter Festivals, Inc. who continues to hire us yearly at “Christmas New Orleans Style” concerts at the St. Louis Cathedral. Those performances helped shape the sequence of the music on this CD. Thanks to everyone over the past nine years in helping finish this album from the first slim case release to this fully packaged CD.


Jerald Miller Wishes To Thank The Following:


Charlotte Miller; Jerald Miller, Sr.; John H. Miller; Valarie Miller; Denise Harris; Michael Miller; Derwin Miller; Anthony Miller; Frances Miller; Janice Miller-Smith & the Smith Family; Betty Finley; Charles Finley, Sr.; Charles Finley, Jr.; Elliot Finley & Family; Artemo, Bertha, & Ramon Garza; Richard Miller; Carol Miller; Tim & Janet Austin; Clarence J. Brooks; Ellis & Delores Marsalis; Wynton Marsalis; Branford Marsalis; Delfeayo Marsalis; Milt, Mona, Charlotte, and Inez Hinton; Mercer, Lena & Paul Ellington; Lauryn Hill; Malaney Hill, Jr.; Malaney Hill, Sr; Valerie Hill; George Avakian; Patrick Smith; Juan Crouch; Pablo Secca; Jeremy Pildis; Megan Pildis; David & Holly Berger; Sherwin Jordan & The Jordan Family; David Levy & Family; Roderick Ward; Victor Wise & The Wise Family; Taiheem Wentt; Miriam Banks Farrakhan; Katherine Medina; Sara Tai; Ingrid Hickman; Melissa Rumley; Zora Ponder Jones; Gabrielle Fulton Ponder; Tiffani R. Brown, Esq.; Ajah Griffin; Sabah Muhammed; Sylvester Onyejiaka, Bob Karcy; Yosefa Klein-Karchmar; Cherise Phillips; Samantha Williams; Charmeka Fox, Emilie Pons; Garrett Shelton; Bruno Ybarra; Jennifer Tusa & The INgroves staff; Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III & The Abyssinian Family; Mike Brown & the entire CYBER-NY staff, Chris Blackwell, Brian Bacchus, Billy Banks, and Bruce Lundvall.


Production Credits