Sax in the stacks? Banjo Claus?
Welcome to another weekend of eclectic holiday music in Greater Morristown.
The sax foursome — Morristown resident Erik Donough, James Aslanian, Deanna Loertscher and pinch-hitter Ellis Jasenovic –actually was a quintet, if you count drummer Matt Olsson.
Video: A Charlie Brown Christmas medley from the Metropolitan Saxophone Quartet:
The Metropolitan Saxophone Quartet at the Morristown & Township Library. Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin; click/ hover on image for captions:
Most of these folks also teach, or have taught, in high schools across the metro area. Let’s hope their students attend some of the ensemble’s gigs, for a complete education.
Friday’s set list included everything from George Frideric Handel to Lennon & McCartney (as we previously hinted) to Gene Autry (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).
Stay tuned for more video dollops of these tasty servings.
Video: When the Metro Sax Quartet is 64:
Alas, Trischka was not in a video mood on Saturday. That’s a shame, because he and his Christmas tour mates were loads of fun to watch.
They shared some old-timey holiday tunes from Trischka’s 2014 album Of a Winter’s Night, spiced with surprises such as The Pretenders’ 2000 Miles; Christmas at Paisley Park, a Prince tribute by Trischka’s son and drummer Sean Trischka; and a jaunty update of T’was the Night Before Christmas by singer and fiddler Phoebe Hunt.
Along with wonderfully bad holiday sweaters, the show included nods to Baudelaire and Emily Dickinson, some nifty a cappella work, clog dancing by Appalachian balladeer Elizabeth LaPrelle, solid standup bass by Larry Cook, and introductions to the jaw harp and the Kenner Banjo-Matic by shape-note singer Tim Eriksen.
At the center of it all, of course, was Tony Trischka, the Grammy-nominated banjo king who co-produced Give Me the Banjo for PBS. He also produced Steve Martin’s Rare Bird Alert album, which features performances by Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks and the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Trischka’s lightning fingers and homespun evangelism make a compelling case for an instrument that doesn’t get much respect.
C’mon, Tony–don’t be shy. Let us show a little of your magic!
Tony Trischka holiday show at The Minstrel. Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin; click/ hover on image for captions: