Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kennedy Center Christmas Jazz Concert on NPR

I had a nice evening with my brother and his wife attending a Xmas concert at the Kennedy Center.  The last time I visited the Kennedy Center had to have been ten years ago.  This is a shame because they always have beautiful Christmas productions.  I mentioned to them that we should consider a "new family tradition" of going to a Kennedy Center show for Christmas.  This isn't quite the same as the annual family trip to Vegas in late December, but I bet it's more Christmasy!

This particular show was the annual NPR Jazz Piano concert.  This year it airs on December 14, so if you happen to hear it, I was there in the audience.  Maybe you can hear me going woot-woot.

Before the show started, the emcee came out to talk to the crowd.  He "prepped" us for applause, as this was a radio show.  However, once the show got going there were no issues with prompting for applause!  He also dedicated the concert to James Moody, sax legend, who just died on Thursday. 

There were four pianists.  I had never heard of any of them.  However, when Freddy Cole was introduced I realized that his brother is incredibly famous.  They were:  Renee Rosnes, Kenny Barron,  Helio Alves, and Freddy Cole.  If you are into jazz, I bet you know their names already.  If you do not, Freddy Cole should ring a bell.  His brother was Nat King Cole. 

I know very little about jazz, but I noticed that the performers had a lot in common.  Renee and Kenny have played with Joe Henderson, James Moody, and Bobby Hutcherson.  Helio has performed with Joe Henderson and Yo-Yo Ma. 

They each played two or three holiday favorites with a jazz twist.  The only person who sung during his performance was Freddy, and what a voice!   He sounds quite a bit like his older brother.  Freddy is apparently up for another Grammy this year. 

During each break in performance, the emcee asked the pianists to talk about themselves a little.  This was for the radio show, of course.  What made me stifle a giggle is that each performer talked in the carefully modulated tones that are familiar if you have ever seen the old SNL clips about NPR.  Ha!

At the very end they did a round-robin of Jingle Bells.  That got the audience singing and clapping. 

Photos?  Well, you are not allowed to take them inside the theater.  So, here is the photo I had recently blogged about.  I had a "where am I" post which was apparently a stumper and with good reason.  I'd have no clue where it was unless I visited the church!  This is inside Santo Spirito in Florence.  Brunelleschi was the architect of this church and he also built the Duomo in Florence. 

This below was taken a few days after the New Year in 2008.  We were back in Florence for the very end of the New Year's Jazz tour with Anne and Kirk Woodyard, of Music and Markets.    Canon SD800IS.

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