Louis Armstrong’s reading of Samuel Clement Moore’s beloved poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” more widely known as “The Night Before Christmas,” comes to life in a newly-shared animated video to herald the holiday season.
The Satchmo recording, featured on the just-released Verve/UMe album Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule, is now accompanied by the attractive video, produced and directed by Tom Readdy and Lucy Dawkins at the award-winning creative house Yes Please Productions. The animators of the vintage storybook treatment were Sam Shaw, Jac Clinch. and Chris Bowles.
The audio of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” was shared as the lead track from the album, which came out digitally on October 28 and on CD, red vinyl, and a limited edition picture disc on November 11. All 11 tracks have also been mixed in immersive Dolby Atmos and hi-res audio on a set that gathers together almost all of Armstrong’s holiday recordings in his first-ever official Christmas album.
His recitation of the festive poem represents the first non-live recording by the great “Satchmo” to be released in more than 20 years. It has been paired with a newly-created music bed by the New Orleans pianist and Impulse! recording artist Sullivan Fortner, also known for his time in Roy Hargrove’s band in the 2010s.
“Pops” committed the poem to tape, by himself, on his beloved reel-to-reel tape machine at his home in Corona, Queens, New York in February 1971 just a few months before he passed away. It became his final recording, and the last in a remarkable collection of several decades’ worth of fascinating audio diaries that he made as an early adopter of home-recording technology. The house is now open to the public as the Louis Armstrong House and Museum.
Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule also features another track to be given a new animated video treatment, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” with frequent collaborator Ella Fitzgerald. It was hand-drawn by director and animator JonJon in his signature “line and shape” style.
Buy or stream Louis Wishes You A Cool Yule.