Originally created 12/20/96

Show may be blast from past next year



Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon hopes to begin a Christmas tradition Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre.

That's when he will present Christmas in the Garden City, a showcase of area jazz musicians.

Mr. Gordon wants to replicate the sort of Christmas special he played in New York with Wynton Marsalis and such luminary vocalists as Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Stade. That show was televised on CBS.

The scale of talent won't be the same, but Mr. Gordon hopes he can make quality holiday jazz an Augusta tradition.

"I've done Christmas specials in New York at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and I figured, why can't we do it here?" he said. "It's something I want to do here on an annual basis. Maybe someday we can televise it."

The event will have a variety show atmosphere. Performers will do jazz standards and some Christmas tunes arranged for jazz by Mr. Gordon. A dance troupe will visit from Louisiana, and alto saxophonist Gray Mayfield is coming from Rochester, N.Y.

This weekend, coming so close to Christmas, could be a tough time for a show, Mr. Gordon said. People could have their minds and their money devoted to last-minute shopping.

Mr. Gordon will perform, as will tenor Alvin Franklin. Mr. Franklin has performed with the Paine College Concert and Gospel Choirs and the Augusta Chorale and is a voice instructor at Mr. Gordon's Augusta Dance and Music.

The two gave a demonstration of what they can do Sunday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, with Mr. Franklin laying his high tenor into some standards, and Mr. Gordon augmenting the music with some easy trombone accompaniment.

The band will include Janis Chancellor, vocalist; Carl Brown, trumpet/vocalist; Joe Anderson, bass; Buzz Clifford, piano; Karen Gordon, keyboard; Eric Hargrove, drums; and Eric Alleyn, guitar.

Trombonist Ron Westray, who has recorded an album with Mr. Gordon, was to perform but had to cancel because of a scheduling conflict.

On stage

  • What: Wycliffe Gordon presents Christmas in the Garden City

  • When: 7 p.m. Saturday

  • Where: Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.

  • How much: $12.50.

  • Phone: 724-8341