Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jazz this week: Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, Frank Sinatra Jr., Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker," and more

With the holidays fast approaching, this week's calendar of jazz and creative in music in St. Louis offers seasonally themed shows from both touring and local musicians, as well as one more tribute to Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday from a rather authoritative source.
Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, December 16
Drummer Matt Wilson will be spreading holiday cheer with his band Christmas Tree-O (pictured, top left) for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Wilson - a first-call percussionist, wily bandleader, and natural showman - is well-known to St. Louis jazz fans, having played here multiple times in recent years with his quartet, his group Arts and Crafts and, in a one-nighter last year at Joe's Cafe, the Christmas Tree-O.

Obviously, that gig was received well-enough to prompt a more extended engagement, and so you can find out more about Christmas Tree-O and see video of some of their skilled yet skewed renditions of seasonal favorites in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also tonight, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "open mic" at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Thursday, December 17
Miss Jubilee will play swing, jump blues and more in an early evening show at Blues City Deli; and guitarist Dave Black, singer Feyza Eren and friends will perform at Nathalie’s.

Friday, December 18
The Funky Butt Brass Band brings their very popular "Holiday Brasstravaganza" back to the south side rock club Off Broadway for the first of two evenings. (As of this writing, Saturday already is sold out, so if you want to attend and don't already have a ticket, it's Friday or nothing.)

Also on Friday, the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and the Big Little Big Band will combine two timely topics in a single show with their "Tribute to Frank Sinatra and Christmas!" at The Abbey in Belleville.

Saturday, December 19
Speaking of Ol' Blue Eyes, his son Frank Sinatra, Jr will pay tribute to his famous father with a performance of "Sinatra Sings Sinatra - The Centennial Celebration" on Saturday at Lindenwood University's J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.

The multi-media extravaganza features Sinatra Jr. (pictured, bottom left) telling stories and singing some of his dad's most popular songs, accompanied by a big band with strings as well as historic photos, video and audio of Sinatra the elder.

UPDATE - 2:15 p.m., 12/16/15: Due to illness, Frank Sinatra Jr's performance at the Scheidegger Center has been postponed until Saturday, May 21, 2016. 
UPDATE - 2:30 p.m. 12/17/15:  The Scheidegger Center says box office staff members will get in touch with ticket holders individually to exchange tickets or make refunds.

Also on Saturday, pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True will provide the jazz in "A Jazz and Choral Christmas" at the Webster Groves Christian Church; and trumpeter Jim Manley returns to One 19 North Tapas and Wine Bar.

Monday, December 21
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band plays Duke Ellington’s re-imagining of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" at Jazz at the Bistro, rounding out the program with additional Ellington material played from the original arrangements.

Tuesday, December 22
Drummer Bernard Long Jr. and band will play a benefit for the Normandy HS jazz band program at NV Social Life in Ballwin.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

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