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PREVIEW: JazzMN Orchestra Swings in the Season (Chanhassen Dinner Theatres)

The JazzMN Orchestra in concert.

The JazzMN Orchestra is a 17-piece jazz ensemble that performs regularly at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Back in early October, it gave a fabulous show at the Chanhassen, featuring superstar trumpeter, Randy Brecker.

The Orchestra’s next performance at the Chanhassen is a holiday event on Monday, December 11 (show at 7:30 pm, dinner at 5:30 pm), Swinging in the Season.  The concert promises holiday tunes in “an assortment of classic and contemporary arrangements.”

Jazz vocalist Bruce Henry.

For this occasion, the Orchestra will be joined by two excellent vocalists, Bruce Henry and Connie Evingson. Henry is based in Chicago, where he was recently nominated as “Jazz Musician of the Year” by The Black Arts and Cultural Alliance, but is no stranger to the Twin Cities.  He celebrated “50 Years in Music” at The Dakota back in July.  He is particularly known for his tribute shows honoring the great masters: Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin.

Vocalist Connie Evingson.

Evingson, a Hibbing, MN native and alum of the University of Minnesota, has just about as many North Star State credits as you might imagine, from performing with the Minnesota Orchestra to her ten albums released on the Minnehaha Music label. (She has also appeared in concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and many other celebrated out-of-state concert series). She is a regular on the Twin Cities jazz circuit, for example appearing as featured New Year’s Eve artist at Crooners Lounge and Supper Club. Like Henry, Evingson is known for concerts and albums that build on the modern classics, including distinctive versions of Beatles songs and the songs of Peggy Lee.

For those who love jazz, great singers, or holiday music, it should be a wonderful evening.

Brian Bix