Louis Armstrong’s poignant reciting of Samuel Clement Moore’s beloved, timeless poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” more popularly known as “The Night Before Christmas,” has been vividly brought to life with a beautiful animated video to usher in the holiday season. Produced and directed by Tom Readdy and Lucy Dawkins at the award-winning creative house Yes Please Productions, the video was animated in a vintage storybook style by animators Sam Shaw, Jac Clinch and Chris Bowles.
“A Visit From St. Nicholas” is featured on the just-released album, Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule (Verve/UMe/Universal Music Canada), which collects nearly the entirety of Armstrong’s holiday output and presents the recordings as a cohesive body of work, marking his first-ever official Christmas album. The first non-live recording of Armstrong’s to be released in more than 20 years was recorded by himself on a reel-to-reel tape recorder at his home in Corona, Queens, New York in February 1971 just a few months before he passed away. It’s unknown why exactly the ailing artist felt compelled to record the holiday staple months after Christmas, but it would end up being his final recording, and now an unexpected gift for fans more than 50 years later. Specially for this collection, the recording has been paired with a newly recorded musical underbed by New Orleans pianist Sullivan Fortner.
Now available to stream in both standard audio and immersive Dolby Atmos audio or purchase on CD, red vinyl and limited edition picture disc, the 11-track album boasts Satchmo’s six Decca Christmas singles from the ‘50s, including “Cool Yule,” “Christmas Night in Harlem,” and the swinging “‘Zat You Santa Claus?” and also features duets with two of Pops’ favorite vocal partners, Velma Middleton (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”) and Ella Fitzgerald (“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”). Rounding out the record is the artist’s signature hit, “What a Wonderful World,”which has become something of a yearlong hymn of hope and celebrates its 65thanniversary this year.
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