Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A guide to this year's holiday jazz in St. Louis

The holiday season always brings with it plenty of thematic music, and those who like to mix some jazz with their jingle bells will have plenty of opportunities this month in St. Louis. Here's a quick look at some noteworthy holiday shows planned by local jazz musicians:

Brian Owens - "Soul of the Season"
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 4
Centene Center for Arts & Education, 3547 Olive
Though Owens at one point a couple of years ago explicitly denied being a jazz singer, he's included here due to the presence of his special guests, pianist Peter Martin and The 442s, who seem likely to infuse at least a bit of improvisational sensibility into the proceedings. $20 & $30.

Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes at the Anheuser Busch Holiday Lights Walking Tour
6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, December 6
Anheuser Busch, 1200 Lynch St.
Tours of the annual light display at the St. Louis HQ of A-B are something of a local holiday tradition, and this year's lineup of musical accompaniment includes the swing and jump blues of singer Sarah Ulrich and her band. They'll perform again at the same time on December 21 and 28. Free and open to the public.

Sarah Jane & Friends - "All Holiday Revue"
8:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7
Robbie's House of Jazz
Continuing in the holiday spirit, Ulrich also has assembled a cast of Blue Notes and special guests for a holiday themed show at the Webster Groves jazz club. $10, $5 for students with ID.

"Follow That Star: A Jazz Nativity" featuring Oikos Ensemble
7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 10 W. Lockwood Ave., 63119
Now that saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie is based here in St. Louis, his group Oikos Ensemble is performing regularly as part of a monthly series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, and this year they'll also be bringing their Christmas concert to several churches in the area. In addition to the Rev. Aerie on sax and his daughter, singer Arianna Aerie, the group includes singer Kim Fuller, pianist Carolbeth True, trumpeter Danny Campbell, bassist Dave Troncoso, and drummer Kevin Gianino.

They'll perform "Follow That Star" again at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8 at Parkway United Church of Christ, 2841 N. Ballas Rd.,  and at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 14 at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 20 E. Fifth St. in Washington. Performances are free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted.

UMSL's Jazz for the Holidays
3:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8
Touhill Performing Arts Center
UMSL's annual presentation "showcases upbeat holiday classics with a jazzy flair," performed by UMSL's Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Jim Widner; choral ensemble Vocal Point, conducted by Jim Henry; and the University Orchestra, conducted by Robert Charles Howard. Free and open to the public.

Jazz St. Louis Big Band plays Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite"
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 11
Jazz at the Bistro
The newly formed Jazz St. Louis Big Band, featuring numerous alumni of the jazz program at SIUE, will perform Ellington’s re-imagining of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker as well as other Ducal classics including “Take the A-Train,” “Cottontail,” “Koko,” “The Mooche,” and more, all played from the original charts.

"Feliz Navidad" with Musica Slesa
7:30 p.m. & 9::30 p.m., Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14
Jazz at the Bistro
The Latin-jazz band made up of area music educators offers their take on some seasonal favorites. $25, $10 for students with ID.

John McDaniel - "Home For The Holidays"
7:00 p.m. & 9:00 p.m., Friday, December 20
Kranzberg Arts Center
The Kirkwood native, who's known for his successes in cabaret and on Broadway as well as his six-year, Emmy Award-winning stint as pianist and musical director for Rosie O'Donnell's TV show, returns home with a show featuring guest singers Mary Beth Black and Cindy Degnan. $25.

Funky Butt Brass Band Holiday Brasstravaganza
9:00 p.m., Friday, December 20 & Saturday, December 21
Off Broadway
St. Louis' own New Orleans-style brass band stages the fifth annual edition of their holiday show, now expanded to two nights and no doubt featuring additional seasonal shenanigans and related tomfoolery. Advance tickets are $12 for 21+, $15 for under 21; day of show prices are $15 and $18.

Joe Pastor Christmas Jazz Show
8:00 p.m. Sunday, December 22
BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups
The percussionist, his trio, and perhaps some special guests will offer their take on songs of the season, all for the cost of BB's usual cover of $5 - $10. 

Do you know of any holiday jazz shows in St. Louis that we missed? If so, please share the relevant info in the comments.

Edited after posting to add the "Nutcracker Suite" info.

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