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John Paris | Christmas Past and Present

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz New Age: Solo Instrumental Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Christmas Past and Present

by John Paris

This album is comprised of Jazzy Arrangements of mostly religious and folk songs in the public domain along with three original songs.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Christmas Is Coming
3:26 $0.99
2. Ode to Joy
5:37 $0.99
3. A Waltz for Christmas
4:13 $0.99
4. Sing We Now of Christmas
4:28 $0.99
5. Christmas Bells
2:57 $0.99
6. I Heard the Bells
4:59 $0.99
7. O Holy Night
4:54 $0.99
8. O Come Emannuel
4:56 $0.99
9. Santa Lucia
2:32 $0.99
10. The Holly and the Ivy
4:24 $0.99
11. Ding Dong Merrily on High
5:28 $0.99
12. The Santa Shuffle
2:31 $0.99
13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
3:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This is my third and last Christmas album. On this album, I dig deeper into the mystical side of Christmas and the deep meaning it holds for all humans. The element of improvisation is important here as well as re-imagining classics by Beethoven and other religious writers,
Music has always been a very special part of my life. It has been my healer, mentor, doorway to spiritual evolution and comforter. I hope that on your journey here, you find these same qualities and that your visit is rewarding and uplifting.

Many of these pieces and arrangements came to me spontaneously in a flash of inspiration. I simply open my heart to the Divine Sound Current and let my fingers express what comes through. The music combines New Age melodic sensiblility with Jazz harmonies and rhythms to create a new sound.

Take your time and enjoy the free audio clips. If you like what you hear, I would encourage you to purchase this music which I have written, and/or arranged and performed to relax the mind, emotions and open the heart to a gentle flow of divine love to soothe the soul. There are many hours of love and hard work put in to the creation of this music which you can listen to over and over for upliftment. thank you for your loving support for this music. May the blessings be!

Fred Lipsius, grammy award winning arranger for Blood Sweat and Tears has said of my music: “ John has written some beautiful melodies. His music, thoughtful and soothing, comes from a place of love. It draws you back for another listen.”



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Christmas Past and Present" is the third solo piano Christmas album from jazz pianist/composer/arranger John Paris. This one is a little different in that some of the thirteen carols and songs are less-often heard than the songs on the first two albums. Most of the tracks will be familiar to many listeners, but three are new compositions by Paris (one is his first vocal recording!). A lifelong musician and performer, Paris’ piano playing is effortless, expressive and often a lot of fun. I hosted the album release concert here at MainlyPiano.com about ten days ago, and the audience loved it, giving Paris a standing ovation at the end. Most of the songs on the album are upbeat and joyful, but there is a beautiful mix of jazz piano styles, moods and sentiments expressed in the music, promising that this will be a favorite album for many Christmases to come.

"Christmas Past and Present" begins with “Christmas Is Coming,” arranged in a lively tropical style that suggests sandy beaches and swaying palm trees - a great start! As a music innovator himself, I’m sure Beethoven would give a very positive nod to Paris’ jazzy take on his “Ode to Joy” (if you recall, old Ludwig didn’t smile much!). Paris makes this classical favorite his own by adding improvisations and catchy rhythms to this very familiar theme. “A Waltz For Christmas” is the first of the three original pieces. The inspiration came to Paris while he was driving and was so intense that he had to pull over and jot the ideas down. He visualized a couple dressed in white waltzing to this beautiful piece. Slow, graceful and very romantic, it’s a favorite. “Sing We Now of Christmas” is a traditional French carol that lends itself well to Paris’ lively jazz treatment. Paris’ own “Christmas Bells” has a Celtic dance feeling that will get your toes to tapping and your head to bobbing. Paris does a great job of making the piano sound percussive in places to imitate the sound of church bells. “I Heard the Bells” is a beautiful slow solo piano jazz arrangement based on Burl Ives’ version from years ago. Deeply emotional and a bit on the dark side, it’s a touching piece! I haven’t heard many jazz arrangements of “O Holy Night,” but this one really works. My favorite track on the album is “O Come Emmanuel.” Very dark with lot of pedal and accents in the deep bass of the piano, it sounds like it was recorded in a echoing monastery. Paris’ improvisations between the verses are atmospheric and haunting - love it!!! Paris’ “The Santa Shuffle” is his first recorded vocal. With the boogie-woogie left hand and bluesy melody, this light-hearted song could become a new Christmas classic. Paris ends the album with a new arrangement of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” As effervescent as a glass of bubbly, this is sure to put a smile on your face!

John Paris has won the award for “Best Jazz Album” from Enlightened Piano radio the past two years, and "Christmas Past and Present" will clearly show you why! Very highly recommended!

Donovan Johnson

Reviewed by Enlightened Piano radio
I was thrilled to review the most recent recording released by John Paris, “Christmas Past And Present.” As usual, John masterfully arranges the songs on the album to create a warm and welcoming mood. His jazzy approach to the piano has always been fun, inviting, relaxing, invigorating, and any combination thereof, but he really pulls out all of the stops on this one. Combining jazz and new age piano styles, you won't be able to listen to these holiday songs the same way after John's finished with them. I should also add that many of the songs on this recording are tunes that are heard less frequently around Christmas time. “Ode To Joy,” “Sing We Now Of Christmas” and “Ding Dong Merrily On High” all offer a refreshing change in listening to a Christmas album, along with many others. Several of the songs on the album were written by John himself as well, “A Waltz For Christmas,” “Christmas Bells,” and “The Santa Shuffle.”
Where to even start with this music? Sometimes it's so difficult to choose my “top three” from an album because all of the songs are written, recorded, arranged, and mastered so beautifully that it's nearly impossible to do so. This is one such album, but I think if I had to choose I'd begin with track five, “Sing We Now Of Christmas.” Here we have an energetic arrangement that moves along with an Irish jig sort of feel. The Celtic influence is very clear in this recording, and it's done extremely well. This is a risky approach to arranging a piece, as it's often easy to create something rather “cheesy” sounding when attempting to emulate this style. John Paris has nothing to worry about as he makes his way up and down the piano in a wave of sound that will take you to another land for the holidays. Bright and cheerful, this is a track that peaks perfectly in the middle, eventually bringing us to a quiet ending that doesn't lose it's powerful enthusiasm.
Track six takes us into a melting pot of chords and melodies that drip like butter from the piano keys. “I Heard The Bells” is John at his Jazzy best, layering a rich and musical theme on top of a variety of jazz chords and rhythms to melt even the coldest of temperatures. The playing on this piece is reminiscent of the styles of some the greats in piano jazz. Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi both come to mind in the approach and structure of the song, and it's sure to be a favorite for those who enjoy the sounds of vintage piano jazz in it's prime.
John points us in the direction of his strong Italian-American heritage through his arrangement of “Santa Lucia,” an Italian song that is often sung and played around Christmas time in Italian families worldwide. This happens to be one of my favorite songs as well, so John really struck the jackpot with this one! Here we have the sweet melody of Santa Lucia interwoven between the nostalgic progressions that John is known for, in an intimate and romantic piano setting. The left hand is particularly interesting in this recording, playing down various scale runs and alternating the progression while keeping the right hand melody intact. At about a minute in it alternates between two chords allowing the right hand to improvise over top, and it's simply magic. The piece ends with build up to a chordal walk down to the final resolution of the piece. Listening to this makes you really want to sit and enjoy a bowl of pasta in a fine Italian establishment by candlelight with a loved one. I'd have to say that this is probably my favorite track on the album.
I'll conclude by saying that if you're not a fan of jazz music, this album probably isn't for you. Jazz is where John's passion is truly at, and over the years he has mastered it like nobody else I've had the pleasure of working with. That being said, “Christmas Past And Present” is a brilliant holiday album that I'll be listening to for many years to come, and it displays craftsmanship at the piano that is rarely heard in today's world. John has also announced that sadly, this will be his final holiday recording. I give it a five star rating and my highest possible praise, and I would recommend it to anyone who is may be looking for a unique addition to their musical holiday experience. Way to go John.