Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Jolly Guaraldi Holiday 2020

It's time once again for this annual round-up of Guaraldi-themed concerts taking place between now and the end of the year, most of which (of course!) are tied in to his music from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I've been concerned about this year's schedule, for obvious reasons. With the options for live performance venues -- and audiences willing to attend -- so limited, I feared this would prove to be a woefully short list. But the news isn't all bad; numerous individuals have pivoted by offering streaming concerts or YouTube options ... along with, to my surprise, a fair number of actual in-person performances. So while the expanding momentum established during the past few years has stalled, you'll still find a respectable number of groups and individuals below, all keeping Guaraldi's musical torch aloft. And we can hope that things return to normal next year.

I traced the history and growth of this delightful tradition back in 2012, with a modest schedule that now seems quaint. This year's post will serve as a clearinghouse for any and all 2020 concerts that come to my attention. Bear in mind that some of these listings are likely to be fluid; it's best to keep an eye on the artist and/or venue web site, to determine if a hoped-for live presentation has shifted to streaming-only. 

It's also highly likely that some of these live events will be canceled, perhaps even at the last moment; be sure to keep checking with the venue.

As always, I'll add to this schedule as new information becomes available, so you'll want to check back frequently. Additionally, some of the streaming performances will be available after the fact, so keep an eye on older entries, as the month proceeds.

• Let's start with something quite different: Jazz pianist Jody Nardone will present a three-week course on the life, compositions and piano stylings of Vince Guaraldi, on behalf of the Nashville Jazz Workshop; he'll draw anecdotes and other material from my very own Guaraldi biography (and thanks for the shout-out, Jody!). Sessions will take place on three consecutive Mondays: November 30, December 7 and 14. Details. He and his trio also will present their fifth annual Charlie Brown Christmas: A Tribute to Vince Guaraldi concert on Sunday, December 13, at the Music City Wine Garden, in Nashville, Tennessee. Details. Finally, he'll perform some of Guaraldi's holiday hits during a virtual "Jazz from Home" show, which will go live on December 16, and remain available through the 25. Details.

• The Malcolm Granger Trio — Granger, piano; Rich Hill, bass; and Michael Dunford, drums — recorded a selection of highlights from A Charlie Brown Christmas, traditionally performed at the Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, Massachusetts. This mini-concert can be viewed via YouTube.

• Popular jazz pianist David Benoit generally headlines a busy concert tour of his Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown each December; alas, his schedule is severely limited this year. He's starting with a virtual performance at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, December 5, from the Carpenter Center at Cal State Long Beach; it remains free to view on YouTube. Benoit's sole live performance will take place Friday, December 11, at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Details. But do check his web site on occasion; things could change.

• The Christmas TREE-O — Doug Ferdinand, piano; Pat Keelan, vibes; Colin O'Malley, bass; and Brendan McAlinden, drums — will present the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas both live and streaming on Saturday, December 5, from the City Grange in Chicago, Illinois. Details. Their concert remains viewable on YouTube.

• The Cyrus Chestnut Quartet — Chestnut, piano; Steven Carrington, sax; Eric Wheeler, bass; Chris Beck, drums — will present Vince Guaraldi's score from A Charlie Brown Christmas on Sunday, December 6, as a Paradise Jazz DSO Digital Concert Event. Details. And if you don't yet have Chestnut's tasty 2000 cover of Guaraldi's holiday album, get it now! UPDATE: The Cyrus Chestnut Trio will present the same program in person on Wednesday, December 23, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, in Dallas, Texas. Details.

• The Michael Shirey Trio — Shirey, guitar; Nick Fane, bass; and Ben Dacoba, drums — is going virtual with their annual holiday-themed Guitar for Guaraldi concert. The video will premiere on YouTube on Sunday, December 6, and remain online for the rest of the month. A portion of the concert also will be featured on one of Chicago's morning news shows. Details.

• The John Sherwood Trio — Sherwood, piano; Scott Alexander, bass; and Brian Barlow, drums — performed the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas during a December 6 concert live-streamed from the Empire Theatre in Belleville, Ontario. The stream will remain viewable through Sunday, December 13. Details.

• The Eric Mintel Trio — Mintel, piano; Jack Hegyi, bass; and Dave Mohn, drums — will present a live program of Charlie Brown Jazz Sunday, December 6, at the Sellersville Theater 1894 in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. Details.

• The Heather Pierson Trio — Pierson, piano; Shawn Nadeau, bass; and Craig Bryan, drums — will present a quartet of live-streamed shows devoted to A Charlie Brown Christmas, from Sunday, December 6, through Saturday, December 19; they'll also perform one "carefully planned, in-person show" Saturday, December 12, at the Bangor Arts Exchange in Bangor, Maine. Check her web site for details. The December 6 show remains available for viewing here, and the December 13 show is viewable here.

• The Doc Watkins Trio will perform The Music of A Charlie Brown Christmas during 16 (!) live performances from Tuesday, December 8, through Tuesday, December 22, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio, Texas. Details.

• The Patrick Lee Trio — Lee, piano; Mike Facey, bass; and Kevin Matthews, drums — will present their take on A Charlie Brown Christmas (everybody's favorite holiday music!) during a virtual concert on behalf of Ovation West Performing Arts in Evergreen, Colorado; it will go live Tuesday, December 8, and remain on demand for several weeks thereafter. Details.

• Saxman Grady Nichols — joined by pianist Donald Ryan and vocalists Andy Chrisman and Kelly Ford — will present a live tribute to the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on Tuesday, December 8, at the MaBee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Details.

• The Dan Dembicki Trio — Dembicki, piano; John DeWitt, bass; and Jack Wazen, drums — will present The Sounds of A Charlie Brown Christmas (and other holiday delights!) on December 9 and 16 (both Wednesdays) at Jrs' Old Packinghouse Café, Sarasota, Florida. Details.

• The Eric Mintel Quartet — Mintel, piano; Nelson Hill, sax and flute; Jack Hegyi, bass; and Dave Mohn, drums — will present a trio of live Music from A Charlie Brown Christmas and More concerts Wednesday through Friday, December 9-11, at Artefact Antiques in Furlong, Pennsylvania. Details. UPDATE: An earlier virtual concert by the quartet, on behalf of New Jersey's Hunterdon County Library, remains viewable here through December 31.

• The Peter Roberts Band will perform the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 9 and 16 (both Wednesdays), at Noce, Des Moines, Iowa. These live audience performances also will be streamed via Facebook and YouTube. Details. UPDATE: The first performance remains viewable here, and the second is viewable here.

• The Chris White Trio — White, piano; Sean Jacobi, bass; and Ryan Jacobi, drums — will present their Tribute to a Charlie Brown Christmas on Thursday, December 10, as a live-streamed event from the John and Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest, Illinois. Details. They'll follow that with a performance at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo on Sunday, December 13, both live and via a virtual feed. Details. Finally, they'll perform a quartet of virtual shows — on December 12, 16, 20 and 23 — from Chicago's Winter's Jazz Club. Details.

• The Ed Croft Trio — Croft, bass; Jake Malone Brancato, piano; and Candice Simone Thomas, drums — will present the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas as a virtual concert for New York's Jazz at the Taylor. The concert link will go live on Friday, December 11, and will remain available through the rest of the month. Details.

UPDATE: Although saxophonist Patrick Lamb and his quartet were scheduled to present music from A Charlie Brown Christmas during live performances Friday and Saturday, December 11-12, at the Tower Theater in Bend, Oregon ... these live events have been canceled. Now one live-streamed concert will take place Friday, December 11. Details. It remains available for viewing here.

• The Michelle Schumann Trio — Schumann, piano; Utah Hamrick, bass; and Scott Laningham, drums — is going virtual this year, with their annual presentation of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas for Austin Chamber Music. A newly recorded performance --  with guest musicians Ephraim Owens, trumpet; and Michelle Haché, vocals -- will stream twice: 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 11; and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 13. RSVP for a free link.

• The Eric Byrd Trio — Byrd, piano and vocals; Bhagwan Khalsa, acoustic bass; Alphonso Young Jr., drums and percussion — 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 is booked for two shows each at two venues this year: Friday and Saturday, December 11-12, at Maryland's Frederick Church of the Brethren; and Friday and Saturday, December 18-19, at Carroll County Arts Center, also in Maryland. Check his web site for details.

• The Matt Kelly Band, with special guest Gena Chambers, will perform the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas during a live and streamed concert Saturday, December 12, at The Cube, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Details. UPDATE: He has added a second livestreamed show at the same venue on Christmas Eve, December 24. Details.

• The Stanford Jazz Workshop will host the Glen Pearson Trio — Pearson, piano; Ruth Davies, bass; and Lorca Hart, drums — in two free webcast performances of music from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13. (The Sunday webcast will be a repeat of Saturday's performance.) The concert will be available here for viewing through Friday, December 18. Details.

• The Cartoon Christmas Trio — Jeff Knoettner, piano; Rob Swanson, bass; Jimmy Coleman, drums — performs music from A Charlie Brown Christmas and 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 a two-part live-streamed show scheduled for Saturday and Tuesday, December 12 and 15, originating in Wilmington, Delaware, which will be available at no cost via YouTube. UPDATE: Both halves remain available for viewing. Part One is here, and Part Two is here.

UPDATE: The previously announced live December 13 10th annual tribute to the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Jose "Juicy" Gonzales Trio — Gonzales, piano and vocals; Michael Marcus, bass; and Matt Jorgensen, drums — has become a solo streaming performance by Gonzales, on that same day, from his home. Details. UPDATE: That solo performance can be viewed here. UPDATE: The trio's scheduled live-streamed concert on Saturday, December 19, from Boxley's, in North Bend, Washington, has been "postponed" (whatever that means). Details.

• Seattle's KKNX will present a special event in its Piano Starts Here series: a tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with performances by Alex Guilbert, Tim Kennedy, Ryan Burns, Evan Captain, Darrius Willrich and Karin Kajita. This "Staycation Festival" streaming event will go live on Wednesday, December 16. Details.

• The Jim Martinez Trio — Martinez, piano; Nico Martinez, bass; and Tim Metz, drums; along with special guest Jim Brown, organ — will present the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas during a live-streamed concert on Wednesday, December 16. UPDATE: It remains viewable here.

• The Brent Jarvis Trio — Jarvis, piano; Louis Rudner, bass; and Hans Verhoeven, drums — will present a pair of live-streamed Charlie Brown Christmas: Music from the Network Television Special concerts Thursday and Friday, December 17-18, at Hermann's Jazz Club in Victoria, British Columbia. Details. UPDATE: The December 18 performance can be viewed here.

• The Annie Booth Trio — Booth, pianist; Patrick McDevitt, bass; and Alejandro Castaño, drums — will present a two-part Charlie Brown Christmas Show live-streamed on Saturday and Wednesday, December 19 and 23, from Dazzle, in Denver, Colorado. Details. UPDATE: The December 19 performance can be viewed here, and the December 23 performance is here.

TT Mahony and Jeffrey Butzer will present their annual tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas as a live-streamed performance on Saturday, December 19, from The Earl, in Atlanta, Georgia. Details. UPDATE: It remains viewable here.

The Commercialists — Anthony Deutsch, piano; Clay Schaub, bass; and Patrick Morrow, drums — will perform the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas during live-streamed concerts on Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday, December 19, 23-24, at the Jazz Estate, In Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Details.

• The Taurey Butler Trio — Butler, piano; Éric Lagacé, double bass; and Wali Muhammad, drums — will be joined by vocalist Mari-Christine Depestre, during the sixth annual edition of Bourgie Hall's Charlie Brown Christmas Concert, in Montreal, Quebec. The performance will go live on Saturday, December 19, and remain available here through January 3. Details.

• The Sean Mason Trio, featuring Tyra Scott, will present a quartet of live Charlie Brown Christmas concerts at Middle C Jazz in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dates and times are 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday, December 19; and 5 and 7:15 p.m. Sunday, December 20.

The Ornaments — Jen Gunderman, piano; James Haggerty, bass; and Martin Lynds, drums — will deliver their 15th annual presentation of the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas as free live-streaming shows on Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday, December 19, 23 and 24. Details. UPDATE: The December 19 performance remains viewable here, the December 23 performance is here, and the December 24 performance is here.

• The Jim Connerley Trio will perform "The Magical Music of Vince Guaraldi from A Charlie Brown Christmas" on Sunday, December 20, at the Mission Hill Sanctuary Event Center in Newport, Kentucky. Details. UPDATE: It remains viewable here.

• Pianist Jason Crosby and Friends — Dan Lebowitz, guitar and vocals; Steve Adams, bass and vocals; and Ezra Lipp, drums — will present the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas as a livestreamed concert from his home. It will be available on demand from Sunday through Friday, December 20-25. Details.

• The Aidan Scrimgeour Trio — Scrimgeour, piano; Gardner Rulon-Miller, bass; and P.J. Holaday, drums — will perform the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas as a livestreamed concert on Tuesday, December 22, from the Parish Center for the Arts, Westford, Massachusetts. Details. UPDATE: The performance continues to be available here.

• The Peter Shea Trio — Shea, piano and vocals; Clark Johnston, upright bass; and Terry Clarke, drums — will perform the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas, "the beloved Vince Guaraldi holiday classic," live on Wednesday, December 23, at the Dalhousie Yacht Club, St. Catharines, Ontario. The concert also will be live-streamed. Details.

• The Kirk Reese Trio — Reese, piano; Steve Meashey, bass; and Jason Hoffheins, drums — will present Good Grief! A Charlie Brown Christmas as a livestreamed concert Wednesday, December 23, at Right Coast Recording, Columbia, Pennsylvania. UPDATE: It remains available for viewing here.

• The Adam Shulman Trio — Shulman, piano; John Wiitala, bass; and James Gallagher, drums — have performed the music from Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas at SFJazz Center's Miner Auditorium, San Francisco, for the past several years. Their 2019 performance will stream Christmas Eve, December 24, as part of SF Jazz's Fridays at Five online series. However, it's available solely to members of SFJazz, and the annual subscription fee isn't trivial. Details.

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