Saxophonist Michael J Thomas and Grammy nominated vocalist Maysa ready to start the holiday party

Special to Gannett
Enjoy "It's Christmas" at https://michaeljthomas.net/it-s-christmas-radio-single .

DESTIN — After the locked down Christmas of 2020, this year is shaping up to be a whole lot more wonderful as we finally get to travel freely, reconnect and spend time in person with cherished family and friends, deck those halls and trim those trees the way we did pre-pandemic. 

A celebration time like this needs the perfect festive soundtrack, and No. 1 Billboard charting saxophonist Michael J Thomas and Grammy-nominated vocalist Maysa are ready to start the party. Joining creative forces for the first time, the two deliver the ultimate contemporary urban jazz holiday delight with their infectious new single “It’s Christmas.” 

Penned by Thomas and Maysa and produced by Thomas, Raymond Darius Jackson, Trammell Starks and Carl Griffin, “It’s Christmas” is 2021’s answer to Donny Hathaway’s timeless and much covered “This Christmas.” It’s a burst of joyful, sensual R&B/jazz funk that soulfully captures every aspect of the season –— the great anticipation, the spirited gatherings, the love behind the gifts exchanged, the boughs of holly, the fireplace and the hot cocoa, with Santa fully on board and Nat King Cole making a special nostalgic appearance.

These bright, swirling images and emotions are brought home to all our hearts via Maysa’s incomparable vocals — which have been part of the urban jazz world since her early '90s recordings with Incognito — and Thomas' lyrical soprano harmonies and solo sections and dynamic textured horn accents. The song’s irrepressible hook says it all and invites us to sing along: “It’s Christmas/Best Time of the Year/It’s Christmas/Let’s toast to Another Year!”

“It’s Christmas” is included on Thomas' upcoming five-track EP "Outside the Door," which went on sale Friday. The EP includes high profile guest performances by jazz and country music greats, Chieli Minucci of Special EFX, Randy Brecker, Vince Gill, and Nashville’s The Smoking Section Horns ensemble.

Thomas, who became an instant contemporary urban jazz sensation when his single “Baby Coffee” stayed at No. 1 on the National Smooth Jazz Airplay and Smooth Jazz Songs charts in 2017/2018, has been on a momentous roll this past year and a half.

“I’ll Never Love Again,” his explosive re-imagining of the Lady Gaga hit from “A Star is Born,” became his second No. 1 smash, dominating the smooth jazz airwaves throughout 2019. Thomas’ cleverly titled, silky light funk follow-up single “Sippin’ The Yak” hit No. 2 on the charts and remained in the Top 5 for nine weeks.