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Ben Ferris Octet

  • North Street Cabaret 601 North Street Madison, Wisconsin (map)

Jazz bassist Ben Ferris and band play a mix of holiday tunes and non-seasonal material, with a catch. Info/tix

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Madison jazz bassist and composer Ben Ferris has a holiday tradition of sorts that plays off the mixture of affection and annoyance most of us feel toward Christmas music. At this annual holiday show, Ferris and his octet will be prepared to play both Christmas songs and an assortment of non-yuletide-themed originals and standards. Audience members can nudge the band toward or away from Christmas music by dropping tips into one of two tip boxes, labeled "ho ho ho" and the other labeled "no no no," or by verbal vote. Inevitably, there will be at least some seasonal material, which Ferris says will include selections from Wynton Marsalis' 1989 album Crescent City Christmas Card and Duke Ellington's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite. Clarinetist Karl Busch and vocalist Rose Heckenkamp-Busch will be at this show to augment the octet's core lineup of saxophonists Nicholas Bartell, Jon Hoel, and Luke Busch; trumpeter Paul Dietrich; trombone player Darren Sterud; pianist Paul Meunch; and drummer Michael Koszewski. To hear more of Ferris’ originals, give his 2016 album Home a listen. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: December 20
Kurt Vile, Jessica Pratt