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Archive for December, 2012

Working at the Palladium has some real advantages for a music lover like myself. This week, my treat has been listening to the rehearsals for Seasonal Sparkle, the St. Petersburg Opera holiday production.

Yesterday, I got to hear the St. Petersburg Opera orchestra rehearse under the baton of Maestro Mark Sforzini. As usual, it’s a tremendous ensemble composed of the best bay area musicians, including a lot of Florida Orchestra players.

During the shows tonight (Tuesday) and Wednesday, they will joined by the opera chorus and special soloists. The show features highlights from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, excerpts from the Nutcracker ballet, some of opera’s most beautiful arias and a sneak preview of next season’s music. You’ll also hear some holiday favorties during the show.

If you missed Seasonal Sparkle last year – when it sold-out – you’ve got two chances to see it this time. Tuesday, Dec. 18 and Wednesday, Dec. 19. Bring the family. For tickets and info visit http://www.mypalladium.org.

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Nate Najar

Nate Najar

We’ve got some great holiday traditions at the Palladium – like Black Nativity and the St. Petersburg Ballet’s Nutcracker – but for our jazz audience, December always means the Nate Najar Holiday Show.

Our favorite jazz guitarist – who lives in St. Pete when he’s not on the road –  has been performing holiday jazz nuggets since 2005, starting with his Ellington Christmas shows. We’ve done the shows upstairs and down, added and shuffled musicians but the shows are always a holiday highlight.

This year’s show  – on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. – could be Nate’s best lineup ever.

 First, let’s talk Ken Peplowski. As a sax and clarinet player, Peplowski is arguably the best in the world. He’s got numerous Downbeat readers’ poll awards to prove it. Based in New York City, he travels the world playing with his own groups and as a featured soloist for great orchestras and top jazz bands.

Add to that another top jazz star – and Palladium favorite – Chuck Redd. Chuck, who works out of Washington, D.C., is a master of the drums and the vibes. This year, he’ll be playing vibes and that’s enough of a holiday gift for any jazz lover.

But there’s so much more.

Nate always invites a great female vocalist and this time he’s reached outside the jazz world. Sharon Scott – the big voice of Black Nativity and countless gospel shows – will belt out some holiday favorites. Sharon earned her jazz chops on national tours of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

“Sharon is a power-house of a singer,” says Nate, which is stating the obvious. “She and I have been involved in a number of things together during the last few years and we talked about doing a show together. This was a good opportunity to do that.”

The other guys in Nate’s trio will also be on stage.  Stephen Buchholz, another Tampa Bay favorite, will play drums. Then, there is John Lamb, the bass master and veteran of Duke Ellington’s band.

 John adds great musicianship, but more importantly – he’s always the hippest guy on any stage anytime.

“John is just so cool – there is nothing remotely close to how cool John is,” says Nate.

And, of couse, there’s the guitar player in the red velvet jacket.

The show will feature parts of the Ellington Nutcracker, some new arrangements of holiday hits, and more surprises – along with Sharon Scott’s vocal fireworks.

Prime tickets are going fast. Don’t miss this great holiday tradition.

For tickets visit www.mypalladium.org or call the box office at 727 822-3590.

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Lauren MitchellStill a relative newcomer on the blues and R&B scene, Lauren Mitchell is fast becoming a star. She sold out her summer show at the Side Door and will return on Jan. 25 to celebrate the release of her brand new CD – Please Come Home.

The December issue of Mayhem Magazine features a full story on Lauren, with photographs taken inside her favorite venue – The Palladium Theater. To see all those pictures and read the article follow this link or just google Mayhem Magazine:  http://content.yudu.com/Library/A203a6/December2012TampaBay/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Ffree.yudu.com%2Fitem%2Fdetails%2F667691%2FDecember-2012-Tampa-Bay-s-Mayhem-Magazine

You can also catch more of Lauren on You Tube – where some video of her knock-out Side Door show is posted. Here’s a link to see and hear Lauren doing “Come To Momma” at the Side Door: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P_MX3bTyqY

One listen and you’ll hear that Lauren’s sultry, gritty vocals conjure down-and-dirty blues like Koko Taylor, soulful Etta James sounds and even some Funk-based blues a la Susan Tedeschi.

She’s backed by Michael Hensley on Hammond B3, Bob Dielman on guitar, Richard Price on bass, and Steve Howell on drums.

Tickets for Lauren’s show – which will certainly sell-out – are on sale now at www.mypalladium.org or by calling the box office at 727 822-3590.

And check out this great shot from the Palladium lobby.

Lauren in our lobby

Lauren in our lobby

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