Last Saturday, Le Petit Theatre welcomed the holiday season with Le Petit Noel, a concert featuring a 7-player jazz band and vocals so confidently strong, they could nearly knock a man to his knees. Host Jay Galle guided the audience through a medley of classic Christmas tunes, including reimagined excerpts from The Nutcracker Suite, a soulful triple-clarinet rendition of “Silent Night” and a light, flirty rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” duet. Gone were the solemn hymns of my Nordic upbringing — these tunes were replaced with lively brass, reeds and rhythms that melted down into my chilled bones. Featured musicians include trumpeter and bandleader Edward Anderson; clarinetist Evan Christopher; pianist and composer Matt Lemmler; bassist and guitarist Papa Don Vappie; drummer Simon Lott; vocalists Wanda Rouzan and Erica Falls; and others.
Listening to the jazzy, very New Orleanian interpretations of popular holiday tracks reminded me that it truly is a magical time of the year to be in NOLA.