All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

515

Brian Setzer's Christmas Extravaganza

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
With the help of his orchestra, Setzer performed the most ambitious and wonderful version of "The Nutcracker Suite" ever heard.
Westbury Music Fair
Westbury, NY
December 2003

Bounding on stage to the Louis Armstrong Christmas classic, "'Zat You Santa Claus?", Brian Setzer and his 18-piece orchestra (along with backup singers Beth Curry and Julie Reiten dressed as Christmas elves) took control of the Westbury Music Fair for two hours on this cool autumn evening. Billing itself as Brian Setzer's Christmas Extravaganza, the show was the kick-off performance of this tour as well as a homecoming for the Long Island-bred Setzer. As Brian, himself, put it, "There's a whole lot of Setzers here in the audience tonight." The family, friends and evening's concert attendees were definitely in for a treat as the show was more than an extravaganza. It was a party — in every sense of the word.

Setzer and his band then launched into his swing/blues/rockabilly-influenced version of everyone's favorite traditional Christmas song, "Jingle Bells." The band then proceeded to roar through tracks from both of Setzer's newly released Surfdog Records releases, Boogie Woogie Christmas and Nitro Burning Funny Daddy as well as older orchestra hits like "Dirty Boogie" and Stray Cats songs like "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut." By mixing holiday songs, older songs and newer songs, Setzer and company kept the audience on their feet and dancing in the aisles throughout the performance.

Setzer, who appeared in a vintage lime green outfit, looked every bit the retro rebel as he led the band through his revamped version of "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag," "Sleigh Ride," "Jump, Jive, An' Wail" and every other Setzer song a fan could ask for. The whole show featured great music with Brian Setzer, of course, as the center of attention. Virtually every member of the orchestra was given an opportunity to shine (either on solos or by interacting with Setzer). Bassist Johnny Hatton and drummer Bernie Dresel were given the biggest spotlight as they joined Setzer for a series of Stray Cats-style and influenced songs.

With the help of his orchestra, Setzer performed the most ambitious and wonderful version of "The Nutcracker Suite" ever heard. Clocking in at over seven minutes in length, Tchaikovsky's classic was performed almost as an homage to Les Brown and his Band of Renown — the influences are that evident. The piece has been completely reinvented and is amazing. Backed up by his band: Hatton and Dresel; four trumpeters — Willie Murillo, Bob Bennett, Kevin Norton and Kye Palmer; five saxophonists — Tim Misica, Eric Morones, Charlie Peterson, Vince Trombetta, Jim Youngstrom; four trombones as played by Robbie Hioki, Blair Raker, Jason Thor and Craig Woods created a musical tapestry that had to heard to be believed. Upon completion, the unlikely show stopper received an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Following the obligatory encores, Setzer then asked the crowd to join him in a sing-along as her again performed "Jingle Bells" and wished the crowd a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a peaceful holiday season.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Oslo Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Oslo Jazz Festival 2018
by John Sharpe
Published: August 29, 2018
Read "Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano" Live Reviews Carl Bartlett, Jr. at Jazz At Kitano
by Keith Henry Brown
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "Jazzdor Berlin" Live Reviews Jazzdor Berlin
by Henning Bolte
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "2018 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit" Live Reviews 2018 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 23, 2018