The Chandler Travis Philharmonic are a parade of musicians who seem like they just escaped from a Dixieland insane asylum. They wear loud, mismatched patterns and play music that flips from perplexingly complicated to sing-along simple, sometimes within the same song. At the core of this group is Travis himself, who takes the stage in pajamas and a silk robe. This is how he presents himself normally, so when he talks about putting together a bill that he calls eccentric, we listen.
For the past seven or eight years — he isn’t sure which — the Cape Cod-based singer has booked musical friends to raise money for charity in what he calls the Christmas Cavalcade. This year’s performers include the Boston Typewriter Orchestra (whose name is exactly what you’d think) and something called the Trombone Shout Band.
“It’s 12 to 15 trombonists and a tuba player, and it’s spectacular,” he says. “With those kinds of numbers, in a small room like Johnny D’s, it’s f—ing nuts. Organizationally it’s nuts, and musically it’s just one of the most delightful things I can imagine.”
Travis assembles a Cavalcade on the Cape the week before the Boston one, and when we speak, he’s still beaming from the festivities the night before.
“The age range of our performers on the Cape Cod one was remarkable,” he says. “We had Philo Rockwell King, who’s 87, and then we also had Lucy Swain, who is singer Sarah Swain’s daughter, singing ‘All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.’ And one of the times she sang it, at another local show, she actually had just lost those teeth.”
But there’s one act that is the star atop the Cavalcade tree — a group of Cape Cod women called The Ticks.
“One of the main reasons I keep doing this show is just to see what The Ticks are going to do this year,” he says. “Last year they did the Grinch.”
Other performers tonight include Merrie Amsterberg, the Downbeat 5, Zoe Lewis, 4 Piece Suit, the Darlings, Shaun Wortis, Sarah Swain, the Catbirds, Sal Baglio, Mike Gent, Alastair Moock, the Revolu-tionary Snake Ensemble, Miriam, T Max, Amy Fairchild, Kevin Connolly and the Athol Thingerth.