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A Dyke About Town: Holiday jazz rings in new year
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A Dyke About Town: Holiday jazz rings in new year

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Pearl Django and Larry Coryell
Mercy and Cuteness are really looking forward to seeing the Pearl Django band at Jazz Alley. They run January 5 through 10. Cuteness points out the group really enjoys playing together. Mercy adds they are excellent musicians. They are delighted the group is featuring special guest guitarist Larry Coryell, one of the world's acknowledged guitar masters. He has recorded more than 75 albums over the past 40 years as a bandleader, soloist and "featured accompanist." Hailed by his legion of fans as one of "the guitar gods" in the late 1970s and as a "truly Renaissance musician who excels at all styles of playing," he has also been christened as "a true pioneer of rock-jazz fusion" by the New York Times, and dubbed "the Godfather of Fusion" by Dan Ouellette of Down Beat Magazine.

Coryell, 63, has played pop music with the 5th Dimension, rock with Cream bassist Jack Bruce, and jazz with Charles Mingus. Coryell also led his own influential fusion band during the 1970s. The 11th House featured fellow pioneers like original Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon and Brecker Brothers trumpeter Randy Brecker. Even Coryell's main influences are a variety-packed trio: country icon Chet Atkins, rock pioneer Chuck Berry, and jazz legend Wes Montgomery.

The music pioneered by Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and his partner in swing, violinist Stephane Grappelli, is still utter bliss in the esteemed hands of Pearl Django, now celebrating their 15th year of performing and recording. With a continuously fresh and entrancing sound, bands like Pearl Django rejuvenate a love and talent for "Gypsy swing," a style that was once the height of sophistication. With urbanity, romance, and a sense of urgency, the music of Pearl Django reaches out to the sophisticates of a new millennium as something joyful and timeless. Gypsy jazz and "hot club" music has been enjoying a major resurgence across the United States and Pearl Django continues to be one of the busiest proponents of that style. Pearl Django's followers include Reinhardt and Grappelli fans, guitarists and guitar enthusiasts who relish nimble and intricate picking, world music fans drawn to French and Gypsy accents, plus jazz buffs and aficionados of the swing scene.

You can get tickets at http://www.jazzalley.com/.

Jessica Williams
Also exciting on Mercy and Cuteness' calendar is Jessica Williams. Williams is a well-known and highly respected American pianist and composer. Dave Brueck calls her "One of the greatest pianists I have ever heard." This two-time Grammy Nominee was classically trained at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In her mid-20s, she worked with the great Philly Joe Jones, drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet. She also played in the bands of Eddie Harris, Tony Williams, Stan Getz, Big Nick Nicholaus, Airto and Flora Purim, Charlie Rouse, John Abercrombie, Leroy Vinnegar, and others.

She has released over 65 albums and written over 300 compositions. She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rockefeller Grant for composing, the Alice B. Toklas Grant for Women Composers, and the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She was chosen Artist of the Year in Santa Cruz County for her free musical service to the elderly, and for donating her grant money to the Women's Shelter of Watsonville, CA.

Buy tickets at http://thetripledoor.net.

Christmas Movie Marathon
Mercy has long had a tradition of meeting for breakfast at Café Septieme, on Broadway. She was sad to learn that the café is closing soon. It seems to have been a victim of a shift of the Gay and Lesbian community away from Capitol Hill. Mercy and Cuteness have been part of that move to other neighborhoods. Still, they are sorry the café, with its nice European atmosphere, is leaving. Mercy's friend Justice said he had been researching the question of what restaurants are open on Christmas, and found a website which told him exactly that. Cuteness and Clarity put in that it would be nice if there were a Jewish deli in town.

Mercy introduced Equality to the breakfast group, and she was a good sport about he fact that there were no people her age there. After brunch, Mercy suggested a movie, another thing she likes to do on Christmas. The group looked at the listings and decided to see Sherlock Holmes and It's Complicated. By the time they got to the theater, they found the showing of Sherlock Holmes they had planned to see had sold out, since a few other people had had the same idea. So they saw Did You Hear About the Morgans? while they were waiting. Mercy was celebrating having found a family with as much of a yen for movies and popcorn as she has. They got their money's worth from the refillable popcorn that day.

Coming Up
Mercy and Cuteness are looking forward to the HD broadcast of the Met's Der Rosenkavalier. Tickets are available at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast.

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