Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be


the new album featuring john di martino & willie jones III


Watch the new video for "happy hanukkah, my friend"


John Di Martino

Andromeda Turre

Wayne Escoffery

Lonnie Plaxico

Willie Jones III

Studio: Teaneck Sound Studio – June 8, 2021
Engineer: Dave Kowalski
Mixed and Mastered: Bass Hit Studio – June 21 and 22, 2021
Engineer: Dave Darlington
Produced by: John Di Martino
Executive Producer: Kathy Salem
Studio Photography: Chris Drukker
Album Design and Photography: Benjamin Lehman
On the Cover: Jeffrey Swan
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Night is Alive Productions, LLC

That Time of Year by Bill Cunliffe

That Time of Year by Bill Cunliffe

That Time of Year Album Cover
  1. Angels from the realms of glory Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  2. God rest ye merry, gentlemen Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  3. On Christmas day Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  4. Dance of the sugar plum fairy Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  5. Lo, how a rose e’er blooming Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  6. O little town of Bethlehem Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  7. O Christmas tree Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  8. We three kings Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  9. ‘Tis the season Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  10. Coventry carol Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  11. Jingle bells Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  12. Silent night Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  13. Carol of the bells Bill Cunliffe 0:30
  14. I’ll be home for Christmas Bill Cunliffe 0:30


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That Time of Year – Bill Cunliffe

Following review from All About Jazz

There’s always the danger of getting all schmaltzy with Christmas music, but jazz people are hipper than average and can usually come up with something appropriately cool to spin around holiday time. That’s exactly what pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe has done with That Time of Year.

Cunliffe is a versatile artist who is comfortable in any size ensemble—from his Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2 (Resonance Records, 2008) to his Grammy-winning arrangement on Resonance Big Band’s Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson (Resonance, 2009)—but the Christmas mood finds him going it alone, showcasing his considerable piano chops on a set that opens with a contemplative and tranquil turn on “Angels From the Realms of Glory” which, rather than sounding hip, has a feeling of deep reverence.

It’s the second cut, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that announces the jazz tinge to the music, with a bluesy, rollicking take on this familiar tune. “On a Christmas Day” brings in a stately atmosphere, a religious hue to the sound, leading into the crisp and jaunty “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

Cunliffe opens up that most familiar of Christmas tunes, “Jingle Bells,” as a ballad, before shifting into a jazzier gear, a high-RPM workout as cool as the Bill Evans Trio’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” from Trio 64 (Verve Records, 1964). “Silent Night” is simply beautiful in Cunliffe’s hands, at a slower tempo that allows the savoring of every resonant note, while “Carol of the Bells” is edgy and dark-toned, until it slips into a bouncy stride piano groove.

The set closes with vocalist Denise Donatelli sitting in on “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” It is a wistful, soulful and hopeful late night close to an excellent Christmas set.

Christmas in the Dog House by Bill Cunliffe




Christmas in the Dog House is available on Night is Alive’s website as well as all major online music platforms.


Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his swinging and lyrical pianism and for his agility and inventiveness in melding jazz with the classical and pop genres. He performs around the world as a leader and sideman as well as a soloist with symphony orchestras.

Renowned New Zealand classical pianist Michael Houstoun recently recorded Cunliffe’s jazz arrangement of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3, first movement, on the album “Concerti,” with the Rodger Fox Big Band (Rattle, 2015). Cunliffe served as co-producer, musical director and arranger of legendary singer Freda Payne’s jazz album “Come Back to Me Love” (Mack Avenue, 2014). His choral piece “She Moved Through the Fair,” commissioned for L.A. professional choir the Golden Bridge, received its premiere in September 2015.

Cunliffe wrote the score for the 2011 film “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s homage to the Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1920s and ’30s. The movie received a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Cunliffe’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album.

His own recent recordings include the trio album “River Edge, New Jersey” (Azica, 2013) and his solo-piano take on traditional Christmas tunes, “That Time of Year” (Metre, 2011), described as a “tour de force” in the Los Angeles Times. Cunliffe received a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his “West Side Story Medley,” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance, 2009). His four other Grammy-nominated works include his concerto for trumpet and orchestra, “fourth stream … La Banda,” performed by Terell Stafford as soloist with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra (BCM+D, 2010).

Cunliffe was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He is a professor of music at Cal State Fullerton and also teaches at the Vail Jazz Workshop and the Skidmore Jazz Institute.