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Music Review: New Orleans Christmas (Various Artists)

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New Orleans label Putamayo World Music is temporarily located in New York City while its home is being rebuilt. The company released this CD to celebrate the spirit of that city despite its recent setbacks. Blues, jazz, and swing holiday classics abound on this lively Christmas CD.

Classic carols such as “Silver Bells” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” are given a New Orleans twist by the artists the Heritage Hall Jazz Band and Topsy Chapman with Lars Edegran & his Santa Claus Revelers, respectively. Other classic carols include a jazzy “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Ellis Marsalis, and Big Al Carson’s swingy “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

New Orleans-rooted original songs include Louis Armstrong’s bluesy “ ‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” sung by Ingrid Lucia, and the Dixieland-style “Holiday Time in New Orleans,” performed by the Dukes of Dixieland.

This is a fresh-sounding collection of Christmas carols that will liven up your holiday gatherings. As with all Putamayo releases, the CD comes with sturdy booklet that describes the music and the artists. Proceeds from the sale of this CD will benefit the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity in support of their Musicians’ Village project.

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