If you’ve had enough of traditional Christmas carols and classical, Rich Wetzel is here to save your sanity. The trumpeter and big band leader of the Groovin’ Higher Orchestra is expanding his troops and going back to the days of jazz pioneer Stan Kenton for a concert at Tacoma Community College next week.
“Stan Kenton was a the equivalent of a rock star in his day,” explained Wetzel, “and his big band made the transition from a purely dance band in the swing era to a jazz band. Even toward the end of the dance era, he would do a jazz set where the musicians would stretch out and the audiences would listen. Later he got more experimental with instrumentation of this big band including using mellophones.”
Wetzel’s 26-piece band will do all this and more in “A Stan Kenton Big Band Christmas” next Thursday. And if you miss the holiday show, catch them on New Year’s Eve when they rock the Harmon with a no-cover free show doing jazz-rock-Latin-funk with a 15-piece band.
Christmas show 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. $10 advance/$15 at door. Tacoma Community College auditorium, bldg 2, 6501 S. 19th St., Tacoma. 800-838-3006, brownpapertickets.com
New Year’s Eve show 9 p.m. Dec. 31, free. Harmon Restaurant, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-383-2739, harmonbrewingco.com