For decades, Christmas audio and visual gems have been stacking up like generations of handcrafted family ornaments. From Bing Crosby and Elvis to A Charlie Brown Christmas and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and everything in between, there has been one staple missing, however, from the arsenal of yuletide goodness: a Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Christmas album.
The legend, whose name has been synonymous with holiday smooth moods, now has his first official Christmas release, a one-stop shop of remastered Satchmo’s finest sugar-and-spiced jingles to saddle up the most wonderful time of the year.
This 11-track remastered time capsule includes classics like the wassail-waltzing “Winter Wonderland,” the soft-brush peppermint rush of “White Christmas” and signature Satchmo numbers such as “Zat You, Santa Claus?,” “Christmas in New Orleans” and “What A Wonderful World.”
The most endearing track is a somewhat mysterious reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” known to most as “The Night Before Christmas.” A testament to how much he loved the Christmas season, an ailing Armstrong recorded this track alone on a reel-to-reel tape recorder months before his death in 1971.
Satchmo’s love for Christmas was as big and robust as his music. The brilliance of his signature trumpet and gravel-tone voice brings an unmistakable gift of happiness that embraces the hustle and bustle while encouraging spontaneous sing-a-longs at the drop of a snowflake.
The wonderful world of Louis Armstrong is a vibrant reminder that music transcends the peaks and valleys of life through the joy of a happiness that is merry and bright.
– Chris Rucker