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With dances set to Bach, Mozart, Handel and Palestrina, the production’s first half sustains a mood of reverence and awe and is aptly titled “The Classical Christmas.” But for the second half, the title “The Cool Christmas” doesn’t really capture the jazzy feel of the works, which range from exuberant joy to sublime silliness. “Michael loved everything about the Christmas season,” says Celia Fushille, the company’s artistic and executive director. “He was serious about the work he did but didn’t take himself too seriously. His attitude was, it’s the holidays, let’s have fun. There are a bunch of great ‘Nutcrackers,’ and we don’t need to do another. We do something new each year, but we have our mainstays, like ‘Santa Baby’ and the Bach ‘Magnificat’ with the angels, things we can’t not do.”.

Notable this year is the return of Shannon Hurlburt’s exquisite tap work in “The Bells of Dublin” (set to music by the Chieftains), rtbu nico lace up knee hi padlock ballet fetish pain boots baby pink Choreographer Robert Dekkers, who’s done such impressive work with his Post:Ballet, contributes a piece set to “Carol of the Bells” by the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Robert Shaw Chorale, And Smuin’s resident choreographer, Amy Seiwert, adds her third piece to the “Christmas Ballet” with a sensuous dance to Kay Starr’s swinging rendition of Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”..

“In the first act, we do her ‘Sleigh Ride,’ a technical bravura piece to Prokofiev that totally fits,” Fushille says. “And in the second half, there’s her ‘I Pray On Christmas,’ to Harry Connick Jr., where you can see how well she understands the use of groups to tell a little vignette with the lyrics. Any time we ask someone to contribute a piece to ‘Christmas,’ it has to really work with the production, or it looks like a mistake. Amy totally gets it.”.

The Front Street theater, which is now used for local theater productions and houses an art gallery, has an interesting past, The original building was built in 1874 as the Grange Hall, In 1913, when more space was needed, a new bottom floor was added and the Grange Hall rtbu nico lace up knee hi padlock ballet fetish pain boots baby pink building became the second floor, in a project that was done by the Grange and the Oddfellows, Over the years, the building has served as a meeting hall, skating rink, movie theater, autopsy room, dance hall, Santa’s workshop, church, basketball court, radio broadcast center and more..

It feels like old friends have come calling, always welcome. But I prefer lifelong friendships, where the relationship keeps changing, deepening. That’s my experience with the music of pianist Randy Weston and tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, master musicians. I never get tired of them, so when it’s time to go to the well, I reach for their music: say, Weston’s “Berkshire Blues,” about as relaxed an expression of absolute joy as I can imagine, or Harper’s “Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart,” which delivers what its title suggests, an ecstatic tumult. Living without either of these musicians would be a sad thing, hard to imagine.

Also hard to imagine is the idea that they would perform together as a duo — that’s more soul rtbu nico lace up knee hi padlock ballet fetish pain boots baby pink per square inch than a listener can absorb, But it’s happening twice this week: Thursday night at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, Sunday at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco, These performances are kind of unprecedented; Santa must be a jazz fan, Thurday’s show will be Weston and Harper, nothing but, Sunday’s puts them in combination — duos, trios, maybe a solo or two — with a younger magician, pianist Jason Moran, a kindred spirit, His music, like theirs, charts the way ahead, while sending roots way down into the soil of jazz..

Weston, 87, (and an NEA Jazz Master), is the living link to Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, his most important influences. One can hear the rumble and joie de vivre of Harlem stride piano in his playing, along with Duke’s bluesy elegance and the bebop Weston played while growing up in Brooklyn, where his friends included Kenny Dorham and Max Roach. Harper, 70, is the most powerful and unique of the post-Coltrane tenor saxophonists. His sound conveys gospel urgency, a hungering that goes back to his Houston upbringing in his grandmother’s African Methodist Episcopal church. Plus, his solos dance; drummers have always taken to his rhythm-charged sound. No wonder Harper spent years in bands led by Roach and Art Blakey.

Together Weston and Harper have a new duo album, “The Roots of the Blues” (on Sunnyside Records), Its title signals what links them: the cry of the blues as an expression of cultural heritage, back to Africa, That’s where they met and first performed together, in 1972 at the Tangier Festival of rtbu nico lace up knee hi padlock ballet fetish pain boots baby pink African and Afro-American Music, A couple of Weston’s albums followed with Harper as a special guest — “Tanjah” and “Carnival” — and the saxophonist periodically has performed with Weston’s bands in the years since, They might play “Caravan,” made famous by Ellington, or “The Healers,” one of Weston’s most shadowy-beautiful numbers..

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