The region’s cultural highlights this weekend and next mostly include holiday jazz, holiday funk, holiday avant-garde, holiday New Orleans and holiday classical music.
This Saturday, soul-jazz vocalist Catherine Russell teams with the John Pizzarelli Quartet in “Billie & Blue Eyes,” paying tribute to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington at 8pm. The evening features soulful interpretations of chart-topping classics such as “All of Me,” “God Bless the Child,” “Witchcraft,” and “One More for My Baby.”
Singer, percussionist, and keyboardist Everett Bradley is best known for his work touring with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Hall & Oates, and Carly Simon. But this time of year, Bradly goes into a phone booth and comes out as his alter ego, Papadelic, and brings his holiday-funk spectacular Holidelic to the finest nightclubs in the land. Part dance party, part funk concert, part comedy show, Holidelic stops in at Club Helsinki Hudson for a two-night stand, tonight and Saturday night at 9pm. Holidelic puts a fresh spin on holiday cheer, through lively holiday party tunes, outrageous costumes, and a theatrical stage show worthy of George Clinton’s P-Funk.
‘Unsilent Night,’ Phil Kline’s mobile sound-sculpture that has become a holiday cult classic, returns to the streets of Hudson on Saturday at 7pm. Led by Kline himself, participants will gather at Hudson's Public Square at Warren and Seventh Street and march to Hudson's Promenade for the parade's culmination. This year's parade route celebrates Hudson's lesser traveled alleys and enclaves, winding through corridors and byways that shade the city's historic streetscape and that will uniquely sculpt the sound of Kline’s composition.
And looking ahead to next weekend:
The West Stockbridge Chamber Players will perform chamber works by Gustav Mahler, Franz Schubert, and Alexander von Zemlinsky at the West Stockbridge Congregational Church on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 6pm. Clarinetist Catherine Hudgins, the Chamber Players artistic director, will be joined by soprano Margaret Felice, cellist William Rounds, and pianist Sayuri Miyamoto, in a concert to benefit the Restoration Campaign for the Old Town Hall in West Stockbridge.
The Crescendo Vocal Ensemble will perform a concert of Spanish polyphony and Latin American folk songs of the Renaissance and Baroque in “Three Wise Kings Follow a Star,” Crescendo’s annual Early Music Holiday Concert, at St. James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday, Dec. 29, at 6pm, and again at Trinity Church Lime Rock, in Lakeville, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 3pm. The concert features Venezuelan soprano and Baroque guitarist Salome Sandoval, Chilean tenor Pablo Bustos, and Latin American and Baroque period instruments.
Emerson String Quartet founder and internationally renowned soloist Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s annual “Bach at New Year’s” concerts as well as performing as featured soloist with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 6pm. The program traces the transition from the high Baroque to the early classical periods with works by Purcell, Boyce, Telemann, Mozart, and, of course, Bach. (Performances also at Academy of Music, Northampton, Mass. on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 7:30pm; and Troy [N.Y.] Savings Bank Music Hall on Jan. 1, at 3pm.)
And finally, singer and trombonist Glen David Andrews will once again help revelers ring out the old and ring in the new when he brings his jazzy, horn-laced New Orleans funk and soul band back to Club Helsinki Hudson on New Year’s Eve at 9pm.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com