Merry Christmas, My Dear
After the success of their recent singles “Moondance” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, pianist/arranger Noel Freidline and vocalist Maria Howell continue to re-imagine some of their favorite Holiday songs with “Merry Christmas, My Dear”.
Whether it’s the swinging arrangement of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” or the gospel roots of “Silent Night”, this album has something for everyone and it’s destined to be a classic.
Noel & Maria
Noel Freidline and Maria Howell define chemistry. Musically they breath as one, communicating almost telepathically as they explore and re-interpret some of the best music of the last 80 years. Always approaching the music from “the left,” Noel and Maria have made a name for themselves as they offer listeners something they have heard, but that they have never heard before. Combine this fresh musical approach with a rapport and witty banter that harkens back to the days of the Rat Pack, and you have Noel and Maria in their element: on stage, thrilling an audience at every turn.
A pianist, vocalist, educator and raconteur, Freidline has recorded 9 CDs, performed at jazz festivals as diverse as the Jacksonville (FL) Jazz Festival to the Bethlehem (PA) Musikfest to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, has performed from Birdland in New York, to Hilton Head’s The Jazz Corner, held down a three-year house band position at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and performed for actress Julia Roberts’surprise 35th birthday party. A lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Noel is the creator and Artistic Director for a number of concert series including Baker & Baker presents (Columbia, SC), Noel Freidline and Friends Concert Series (Jacksonville,
FL), NorthStone Music Series (Charlotte, NC), and the 73 & Main Third Thursday Series (Mt. Pleasant, NC). Noel has composed music for ESPN, ABC and the Walt Disney Company.
Mere words can only capture the refrain of actress and vocalist Maria Howell’s awesome talent and stage presence. As an actress Howell has appeared in the feature films The Color Purple, The Hunger Games, The Blind Side, and Hidden Figures as well TV’s “Revolution,” “Devious Maids,” and “Saints and Sinners.” As a vocalist Maria has shared the stage with Ray Charles, Najee, George Howard, Ramsey Lewis, George Benson, Nancy Wilson, lyricist Tim Rice and Marvin Hamlisch, among others.
Noel Freidline, piano and keyboards
Maria Howell, vocals
Alfred Sergel IV, drums and percussion
Billy Thornton, acoustic bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7)
Juan Carlos Rollan, tenor saxophone (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7)
Lovell Bradford, B3 organ (tracks 2, 4, 6)
Dave Vergato, acoustic bass (tracks 3, 5)
Tim Gordon, alto saxophone (track 3), tenor saxophone (track 5)
James Hogan, electric guitar (track 6)
Jonathan Yudkin, strings arrangements (tracks 1, 2, 7)
All ensemble arrangements by Noel Freidline
Project Management provided by: The TamTam Group, LLC
Photography: April Freidline
Layout & Design by: Dustin Parker
Noel would like to thank: God, Billy, Maria, Al, April, the band, Glenn, Robert Krumbine and Tom Gabbard.
Maria would like to thank: God first and foremost. My loving parents, who are resting in Heaven, William “Buddy” Howell and Virginia Howell…two amazing examples of faith and family love. My brother and sisters…five fabulous examples of true love and support. My extended family, friends, too many to list, you lift me higher. Billy, Noel, Al and the band. I humbly thank you all!
1 You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To 2:27
(Merry Christmas, My Dear)
( Cole Porter)
2 This Christmas 3:59
(Donny Hathaway (as “Donny Pitts”) and Nadine Theresa McKinnor)
3 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3:05
4 Hark The Herald Angels Sing 3:26
5 Here We Come A-Wassailing 3:32
6 Silent Night 3:36
7 Do You Hear What I Hear? 3:28
8 My Favorite Things (bonus track) 3:01
9 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 2:08
(Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane )