Strathmore presents Christmas -- jazz style

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

If old Christmas carols and the sound of a big band performing live seem to audiences at opposite ends of the musical spectrum, Brad Linde, co-founder of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, has something to say on that score.

"A good song doesn't care who plays it," he noted. "It's always nice to visit repertoire that's outside the norm."

And so, in three separate Sunday shows at Strathmore's Mansion, the 17-piece orchestra will entertain audiences with its renditions of holiday music that runs the gamut from the "Coventry Carol" to "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

"We have some standard tunes from the classic repertoire, like Duke Ellington's adaptation of 'The Nutcracker Suite,' " continued Linde, who multi-tasks for the band, playing baritone sax, bass clarinet and flute. "We have some Stan Kenton arrangements of Christmas carols like 'We Three Kings' and 'O Holy Night.' Then we also have new music that's been arranged by some of the band members."

Onstage
Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra Christmas
Where: The Mansion at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda
When: 3:30, 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Info: Sold out as of press time, but tickets may be available through resellers; 301-581-5200; strathmore.org

While the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra can be found in the club by that name every Monday night playing to packed houses, the Mansion at Strathmore offers an interesting change of venue for the group.

"It's nice to have the stage in the Mansion to stretch out a little bit in a more comfortable setting," Linde explained. "And it's nice to be able to accommodate a whole section of listeners in front of us, where everyone hears the music from the same angle. In the Mansion, it's more of a presentation, or a concert."

Linde also points out that their music is for all ages and demographics -- a good thing, with more than 250 arrangements in their repertoire from which to choose. Sunday in that lineup will be all about holiday music, both old and new.

"I think the future [of big band music] is just continuing to build on the great tradition of Ellington, Strayhorn and Count Basie and continuing to add our own input and our own voices to it and bring in everything that's happened since that era," Linde said. "It's whatever we shape it to be."

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Marie Gullard

Special to The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner