Enjoy a jazzy Christmas at Chris’ jazz cafe

George Burton brings the holiday spirit to Chris' Jazz Cafe.
George Burton brings the holiday spirit to Chris’ Jazz Cafe.

When pianist George Burton was growing up in Mount Airy, his parents took him downtown to the Gallery every winter to hear professional jazz and classical musicians play Christmas music in the mall.

That series doesn’t exist anymore but, decades later, Burton is attempting to create that cherished experience for a new generation.

“George Burton’s Yule Log” — complete with a jazz trio, string section and a pair of accomplished vocalists — sleds into Chris’ Jazz Cafe this weekend. But don’t expect “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” in the set list. Burton wants to challenge your notion of this tinsel-coated genre.

“Over the years, I kept hearing the same Christmas songs pretty much played the same exact way,” he explains. “I wanted to see if I could take some of the cheesiness out of it. Like, what’s worth listening to in this, underneath all of the cheesiness?”

A self-described recovering “classical Nazi,” Burton spent his adolescence listening to classical music almost exclusively while training on the viola. It wasn’t until college that he converted to piano — and jazz. His Christmas project provides a unique chance to hold his passion for keys and strings together in the same space.

“It’s all about the intricate interplay between the two. It’s not like the strings are playing these long flowing parts for no reason,” says Burton. “People have a misconception that string players can’t be aggressive. I hope this changes that for some people.”

And Burton has dug deep into cultural vault, looking for the oft-overlooked, under-celebrated strokes of genius within the genre, like “Some Children See Him,” by Alfred Bur; the traditional Catalan song “Fum, Fum, Fum”; and an experimental take on “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

“At this point commercial Christmas music has kind of ceased to have any effect on us,” he says. “I think the Christmas songs musicians tend to avoid are the ones that are, actually, really meaningful, because they don’t want to come across too heavy. But those are the exactly the songs I wanted to tackle.”

‘George Burton’s Yule Log’
Chris’ Jazz Café
1421 Sansom St.
Dec. 21, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
$20, 215-568-3131
www.chrisjazzcafe.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.