Five places to have a jazzy New Year’s Eve

Looking to ring in the new year with some live music? There are a lot of venues around the country that have special New Year’s Eve programs lined up with some all-star musicians. Here are five shows from around the U.S. we chose to highlight, including one from Seattle.

NEW YORK – Wynton Marsalis: The Music of Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Reservations are available by phone only 212-258-9595/9795.

Early Diz: 7:30pm — $350 per person
includes music charge and 4-course meal, and party favors
Doors open at 6pm

Midnite Diz: 11pm — $500 per person
includes music charge, complimentary one-hour cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, 5-course meal, champagne toast, parting gifts, and party favors
Cocktail Reception at 9pm
Doors open for show at 10pm

Ring in 2012 in the tradition of New Orleans with Wynton Marsalis and his trusted ensemble. Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Dan Nimmer, piano; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Ali Jackson, drums; Walter Blanding, reeds; Wess Anderson, reeds; Victor Goines, reeds; Marcus Printup, trumpet; Chris Crenshaw, trombone; James Chirillo, guitar and banjo; Ricky “Dirty Red” Gordon, washboard and percussion.

BOSTON – Christian McBride & Inside Straight with special guest Melissa Walker at Scullers Jazz Club

8pm Show: $50 per person
Dinner & Show: $309 per couple*
11pm Show: $60 per person
Dinner & Show: $379 per couple*, includes hats, noisemakers & a champagne toast
*includes tax & gratuity, does not include drinks

…And stay the night for an additional $119 a night, not including tax.

Bassist extraordinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man is not yet 40.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Monty Alexander at Blues Alley

6:00 PM – (Doors Open at 5:30) – $100 per person Includes: 3 course meal, non alcoholic beverages (bottled water excluded), tax and gratuity. 10:00 PM – (Doors Open at 9:30) – $150 per person Includes: 3 course meal, non alcoholic beverages (bottled water excluded), champagne by the glass, hats, noise makers, tax and gratuity.

In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation exploring the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica, finding in each a sincere spirit of musical expression. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe: Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Sly & Robbie Shakespeare, among many others.

SAN FRANCISCO – Maceo Parker’s New Years Party at Yoshi’s San Francisco Jazz Club

  • 8pm: $50
  • 10pm: $100“Parker talks with his sax, chatters away without a seeming care. It’s a musical antidepressant, an antidote to dark days. ….firmed my belief that the world would be a better place if we all funked together.”-San Diego Reader


    Maceo Parker Band – leader, sax, flute, vocals

    Dennis Rollins – trombone

    Will Boulware – keys

    Bruno Speight – guitar

    Rodney ” Skeet” Curtis – bass

    Marcus Parker – drums

    Martha High – vocals

    Corey Parker – vocals

SEATTLE – Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz New Year’s Eve Celebration at Jazz Alley

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley welcomes Grammy Winning Master Conguero Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band for 4 nights and 8 shows. Band members: Poncho Sanchez (Congas/Vocals), Joey De Leon (Timbales), Rene Camacho (Bass), Ron Blake (Trumpet), Robert Hardt (Alto and Tenor Saxophone), Francisco Torres (Trombone), Jose Rodriguez (Bongos) and Andy Langham (Piano).


1) The 1st Show Dinner Package includes admission to the first show, a four-course dinner and tax & tip. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the music starts 8:45 PM & continues until 10:00 PM. $105.50 per person

2) The “Ring in The New Year” Package includes admission to the second show, choice of dessert, coffee or tea, party favors and includes tax & tip. Doors at 10:30 PM and music starts at 11PM. $80.50 per person

3) All Evening Package (1 and 2 above) $155.50 per person

4) First Show Only $52.50 per person


Building a “Trendy” Dream Big Band Part 1 of 2

I recently made a post talking about trendiness in jazz, and in previous posts I constructed my own personal dream big band, consisting of my favorites of all time, living or deceased.

I’ve decided to mix the two. I’ve created a big band that consists of living musicians that I consider to be some of the trendiest or hippest or most visible musicians today. Just like my original dream big band posts, this is purely my opinion, and no doubt every person out there might construct something different (which is why I always ask for you to post yours).

That being said, enjoy (or hate) this grouping of musicians that I think are doing what it takes to keep jazz entertaining, edgy, fun, exciting, trendy, hip, etc., etc., etc. In part 1, the trumpets and saxes!

The Trumpets

Lead Trumpet: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo is still the big name these days in screaming trumpet players. It is rare to attend a show of his and not be a part of a excited, roaring audience.

Watch Arturo Sandoval play Groovin’ High:

Second Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis

I don’t know if it helped or hurt his “trendiness rating” by recording with Willie Nelson recently, but appearances on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report still make him the most visible jazz musician alive.

Wynton’s trendiness shown in an IPod ad:

Third Trumpet: Roy Hargrove

Roy represented all trumpeters in 2008 with an album that was likely the best jazz album of the year. Always with a hip band and getting better all the time.

Hargrove’s solo on Impressions with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker:

Fourth Trumpet: Terence Blanchard

This guy oozes cool. Someone who absorbed every minute he spent with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and made his trendiness known by writing and recording scores for multiple Spike Lee films.

Terence in Tokyo 2005:

Fifth Trumpet: Nicholas Payton

He has a tendency to become your favorite trumpet player after you see him perform live. He is extremely versatile and his recordings show a wide range of talents.

Watch Nicholas Payton play Bags Groove:

The Saxes:

1st Alto: Kenny Garrett

Whatever it was that he picked up from working with Miles Davis, I’m happy he did. He is extremely inventive and entertaining, and has managed to soak up some of that edginess from Miles in the 80’s.

Kenny playing Wayne’s Thing:

2nd Alto: Maceo Parker

So what if he advertises himself at 98% funk and 2% jazz? Every band needs some funkiness (Just ask James Brown when Maceo was his music director). His shows are as entertaining as it gets.

Watch Maceo Parker perform Pass the Peas:

1st Tenor: Branford Marsalis

Although he might have been considered a little bit dry during his short run as Jay Leno’s band leader on the Tonight Show, it was network exposure of a great jazz musician, earning him trendy points. He also continues to produce some of the most artistic albums in modern jazz.

Branford shows off his trendiness playing Roxanne with Sting:

2nd Tenor: Joshua Redman

The coolest man holding a sax these days, and maybe the smartest. The Ivy League grad has put out some of the coolest recordings in the last decade.

Joshua Redman and Stevie Wonder pay tribute to Duke Ellington:

Baritone Sax: Ronnie Cuber

A ton of power and energy. No wimps in this all star band!

Ronnie plays Filthy McNasty:

The rest of the band next time!!!