Cabaret Review: A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS (Birdland Jazz Club)

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by Paulanne Simmons on December 22, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Theater-New York

Even if you’re the last Scrooge to get into the Christmas spirit, a trip to Birdland to see A Swinging Birdland Christmas will do the trick. Returning to Birdland for the fourteenth year, the show features Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch (also at the piano) singing a whole lot of Christmas songs about snow, Santa and sleigh rides. The theme of jingle bells comes back repeatedly.

The show features songs from Broadway (“We Need a Little Christmas” from Jerry Herman’s Mame), swinging arrangements of traditional songs (Kay Thompson’s “Jingle Bells”) and hits from the world of popular music (the song Caruso calls “a tribute to childhood greed,” “Mister Santa”). Some are delightfully silly like “He’s Stuck in the Chimney.” While “The Christmas Blues” asks “what’s the use of shopping/When there’s no one on your list.”

A Swinging Birdland Christmas even takes us to Hawaii with “Mele Kalikimaka,” for which Blackhurst and Caruso serenade the audience with voice and ukelele. And if you’re a dedicated Manhattanite, Ann Hampton Callaway’s “Manhattan in December” will remind you that “the Big Apple dipped in snow/Christmas everywhere, with colored lights to spare/And Broadway looking great in winter glow” mean that for “Yuletide and Christmas, there’s just one place to be.”

The show also features Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums. One of the evening’s highlights is Glass and Doyle playing the bass together, Doyle with his fingers and Glass with his drumsticks.

A Swinging Birdland Christmas will fill your ears with harmony and your heart with joy.

A Swinging Birdland Christmas
Birdland, 315 West 44 Street
Thursday-Monday at 5:30 PM
ends on Monday December 25, 2023
for tickets, visit Birdland

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