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Archive for December, 2010

I spent 25 years as a journalist and as every year draws to a close, journalists are required to come up with  lots of “best (or worst) of the year” lists.

Now that I’m at the Palladium, looking back on a year of great shows, and talented artists, seems like a perfect way to end the year.

Here are a few of my favorite moments:

PAUL STOOKEY:  Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary, played on our main stage on Feb. 19. It was one of his first shows since the death of Mary Travers. I had been a fan of Stookey since my high school days and my band at the time – called “Joe, Paul and Sherry,” was a psychedelic-folk ripoff of PP&M.

Stookey loved that story and was always charming and fun. He played for a packed house, did two very long sets, then moved downstairs for an after-party. Gail Trippsmith, a local singer-songwriter, was on stage for the party and before long, Stookey was on stage with her, doing  beautiful verions of the Peter, Paul and Mary hit, “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane.” It was a magical moment. 

THE BEATLES: We had a couple of Beatles high points in 2010. The Fab Four concert last summer was more than just that great band, which played all the music live. It was a multi-media night, MC’d by” Ed Sullivan.” The Ed Sullivan character was the same actor who played Ed Sullivan in the restaurant scene in the film Pulp Fiction.

Last spring, Kym Purling, one of the area’s top pianists, took the Beatles songbook and created great jazz arrangements. And as he and his band played, four artists from the Morean Arts Center did giant portraits of John, Paul, George and Ringo. As the show ended, the artists finished their paintings. We hope to do more with the Morean artists in 2011.

BOOGIE WOOGIE: Our first annual Boogie Woogie Blues Piano Stomp in January was a major hit. The theater was packed as four great pianists banged out the blues and boogie on two grands. The highlight, of course, was Bob Seeley, the 80-something boogie master, who finished the show by dancing between the pianos like some kind of funky gypsy. He’ll be back when the Stomp returns on Jan. 29, 2011.

I’ll add more highlights over the next few days. Feel free to share yours.

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If it’s getting close to Christmas, it means that Nate Najar is coming back to the Palladium.

 The St. Pete jazz guitarist, who is building a big national reputation, has been doing holiday shows here since 2005. This year Nate and his trio, along with some special guests, take the stage on Friday, Dec. 17.

Another Palladium favorite, bassist John Lamb, will be on the bandstand along with saxophonist Jeremy Carter.

Other players and singers are TBA. That’s because, like any good jazz guy, Nate says he is still figuring out exactly what he’s going to be playing.

 “I do know we’ll be swingin’ all your holiday favorites and some new ones,” he said. “And we’ll do some pieces from (the Duke Ellington) Nutcracker.”

 When I talked to Nate on Friday, he was just back from a string of sold-out shows in New York, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. His trio was doing Charlie Byrd tribute shows. He’s also been recording new material on the west coast (that’s California, not Treasure Island) and sharing the bandstand with some big names at jazz at festivals and clubs.

 Last year’s Nate Najar Jazz Christmas show sold out, so get your tickets early for this annual holiday treat.

 And if you can’t make it on Dec. 17, Nate will be sharing the Side Door Cabaret stage with NYC saxophone sensation Harry Allen on Thursday, January 6. For tickets and info on both shows visit www.mypalladium.org.

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