I traced the history and growth of this delightful tradition in 2012, in a blog entry which I encourage the curious to read. Meanwhile, this new post will serve as a clearinghouse for any and all late 2015 concerts that come to my attention. I'll add to this schedule as new information becomes available, so do check back on occasion.
As has been the case for several years now, the most ambitious tour news comes from Concord recording artist David Benoit, who once again is taking his Charlie Brown Christmas show on the road. He's touring this time with jazz chanteuse Jane Monheit, with whom he recorded their new holiday album, Believe. Their schedule kicks off November 28 at New York's Rockville Center, and concludes December 20 at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, with stops along the way in Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and several other venues across the United States. We caught Benoit's 2011 performance in Livermore, California, and I can report that it's a great show. It's also tremendously sweet, since Benoit and his team work with a children's choir that is local to each stop. Check his website for details.
For those wanting a bit more detail about Benoit's involvement with the Peanuts franchise, this short interview is worth a look.
Benoit once again is grabbing the lion's share of headlines in the States, but our Canadian neighbors will enjoy the return of the season's most historic booking. Drummer Jerry Granelli, who worked as a member of Guaraldi's trio in the 1960s, will headline performances of the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas with his own trio. They'll perform nine times, starting November 28 at Calgary's Central United Church; and concluding December 18, at the Arts & Culture Center in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Granelli first presented this show a few times in 2013, and the results were quite popular (no surprise there). He'll again be joined by Simon Fisk (bass) and Chris Gestrin (piano). Check his website for details.
I must — of course! — mention my good buddy Bill Carter. Followers of this blog know that Guaraldi's Grace Cathedral Jazz Mass recently was revived at Carter's First Presbyterian Church of Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania. Well, Carter has a few more choice events up his sleeve. He and his Presbybop Christmas Eve Band will present an afternoon concert titled A Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas Sunday, December 13, at the First Presbyterian Church of Hawley, also in Pennsylvania. This will be followed by Presbybop's annual Jazz Christmas Eve concert at Carter's First Presbyterian Church, which I'm told also will focus on Guaraldi's music from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Details.
The Heather Pierson Quartet — Pierson on piano, Joe Aliperti on sax, Shawn Nadeau on bass, and Craig Bryan on drums — has scheduled a mini-tour of (thus far) six shows devoted to A Charlie Brown Christmas. They kick off December 4 in Eaton, New Hampshire, and conclude December 17 in Laconia, New Hampshire, with stops in Massachusetts and Maine. Check her website for details.
The Cartoon Christmas Trio doesn't concentrate solely on music from A Charlie Brown Christmas; they also pepper their performances with tunes from other animated holiday shows, such as Frosty the Snowman and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (Their album is a kick; give it a listen.) They have seven shows scheduled thus far, starting December 5 in Newark, Delaware; and concluding December 20 in Wilmington, Delaware; with other shows in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Check their website for details.
The Eric Byrd Trio also has made a cottage industry of Guaraldi's Christmas music, going so far as to cover most of the album in a 2009 release. Byrd's combo has taken its Charlie Brown Christmas Show on the road during the past several years, but — as was the case last year — seems to be limiting activities to four shows in Maryland, from December 13-21. Check his website for details.
The Ornaments, a jazz trio based in Nashville, Tennessee, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Charlie Brown Christmas shows. The combo — Jen Gunderman, piano; James Haggerty, bass; and Martin Lynds, drums — is doing a week's worth of gigs at The Family Wash in East Nashville, with shows each evening from Wednesday, December 16, through Monday, December 21, with an additional Saturday matinee at the nearby Belcourt Theater, and a final evening show Tuesday, December 22, at 3rd & Lindsley. Details. (And if you haven't yet picked up the group's spiffy CD cover of Guaraldi's entire Charlie Brown Christmas album, what are you waiting for?)
Pianist Eric Mintel and his quartet — Nelson Hill, sax and flute; Jack Hegyi, electric bass; and Dave Mohn, drums — have a busy schedule of 11 Charlie Brown Christmas & More concerts booked during December, starting in Manchester, New Jersey (December 1) and concluding in Landsdale, Pennsylvania (December 21). Check his website for details.
The San Francisco Symphony once again is presenting nine performances of A Charlie Brown Christmas — Live between December 18 and 24 at Davies Symphony Hall, in downtown San Francisco, California. The concerts will feature the Symphony and Symphony Chorus, along with dancers, narration and animated backdrops, along with special guest Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid). Check their website for details.
Northern California jazz pianist Jim Martinez and his quartet are presenting half a dozen Charlie Brown Christmas 50th anniversary shows, starting December 11 (venue to be determined) and concluding December 26, at Silo's in Napa. Visit his website for additional details.
Other groups also have gotten into the act:
• The Music of Vince Guaraldi, featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Duncan Cooper Trio (Cooper, piano; John Beach, bass; and James MacKenzie, drums); Saturday, November 28, at Eastminster United Church, Belleville, Ontario. Details.
• A Jazzy Christmas, with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio; Wednesday, December 2, at the Holland Center's Scott Recital Hall, in Omaha, Nebraska. Details. (Recall that Chestnut was the first to do a complete cover of Guaraldi's score to A Charlie Brown Christmas, on an album that remains readily available.)
• It's a Jazzy Christmas: A Celebration of Vince Guaraldi's Holiday Jazz Music; Friday, December 4, at the College of St. Rose's Massry Center for the Arts, in Albany, New York. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Danny Ziemann Quartet; Saturday, December 5, at Joe Bean Coffee Roasters in Rochester, New York. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi, with the Michelle Schumann Trio (Schumann, piano; Utah Hamrick, bass; and David Sierra, drums); Saturday, December 5, at the Stateside Theater in Austin, Texas. Details.
• A Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Karl Stabnau Combo (Stabnau, sax and flute; Jacob Dupre, piano; Ben Tiberio, bass; and Eric Metzgar, drums); Tuesday, December 8, at the College of Brockport Mainstage in Brockport, New York. Details.
• Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahoney Perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Thursday, December 10, at The Grey Eagle, in Asheville, North Carolina. Details. (And check out their free song downloads.)
• A Tchaikovsky and Charlie Brown Christmas Concert, with the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra; Friday, December 11, at the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. Details.
• A Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Karl Stabnau Quartet (Stabnau, sax and flute; Jacob Dupre, piano; Ben Tiberio, bass; and Eric Metzgar, drums); Sunday, December 13, at the Downstairs Cabaret in Rochester, New York. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Jose Gonzales Trio (Gonzales, piano; Michael Marcus, bass; and Matt Jorgensen, drums); Sunday, December 13, at the Cornish Playhouse in Seattle, Washington. Details.
• Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahoney Perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Tuesday, December 15, at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre, Marietta, Georgia. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, performed by the Quentin Coaxum Quintet (Coaxum, trumpet; Dustin Laurenzi, tenor sax; Stu Mindeman, piano; Jake Vinsel, bass; and Mikel Avery, drums); Wednesday, December 16, at The Fulton Street Collective, Chicago, Illinois. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, performed by the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players Trio — Matt Kendrick, bass; Frederico Pivetta, piano; and John Wilson, drums — and the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus; Wednesday, December 16, at the Salen College Fine Arts Center, North Carolina. Details.
• Adam Shulman plays Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Thursday, December 17, in the Joe Henderson Lab at the SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco, California. Details.
• Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahony Perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Friday, December 18, at The Earl, in Atlanta, Georgia. Details.
• Music from A Charlie Brown Christmas Live, with the Charles Cornell Trio (Cornell, piano; Malik McLaurine, bass; and Al Tolomeo, drums); Saturday, December 19, at the Hudson River Music Hall in Hudson Falls, New York. Details.
• The Joe Cool Trio — John Milham (drums), Chris Spies (piano) and Chris Servin (bass) — will present its seventh annual Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 19 in Mobile, Alabama. Details.
• Charlie Brown Christmas Jazz (Sip and Swirl), with the Dave Wild Trio; Saturday, December 19, at the Valley Mills Wineyards, Waco, Texas. Details.
• Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahony Perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Saturday, December 19, at The Earl, in Atlanta, Georgia. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Jose Gonzales Trio (Gonzales, piano; Michael Marcus, bass; and Matt Jorgensen, drums); Sunday, December 20, at the Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater, in Snohomish, Washington. Details.
• Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahony Perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas; Sunday, December 20, at Saturn, in Birmingham, Alabama. Details.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the Jerrod Cattey Trio (Darren Litzie, piano; Rick Baumer, guitar; and Kevin Smith, bass); Sunday, December 20, at Pizzeria Lauretano, in Bethel, Connecticut. Details.