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Apr 23, 2014







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Ellis Marsalis, A New Orleans Christmas Carol
Elm Records, Oct. 11

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



This lonely, pensive little holiday collection finds 77-year-old Junior playing up the empty-piano-bar angle in its most serious vein, which is to say it’s not the most fun you’ll ever have with a record, but it’s certainly something to slow down the holiday enough to bask in it a little. Marsalis seems on a mission to evoke a solitary Schroeder from A Charlie Brown Christmas accompanied almost exclusively by brushed drums, whether on the tried-and-true-mawkish “O Tannenbaum” or an even more obvious “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — it’s a boy and his piano, for the moment unchained from his confines at the Snug Harbor Bistro, enjoying his own thoughts while singer Cynthia Liggins Thomas cozies her low soprano up to the baby grand for “A Child is Born.” If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy that the speedier songs, like “Sleigh Ride,” are as barely-there as the rest of them. A-
—Eric W. Saeger






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