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Have yourself a jazzy holiday

’Tis the season to enjoy a lively Boston-area music scene

Scott Haas
Have yourself a jazzy holiday
Ron Savage. COURTESY PHOTO

There is no better time to take in jazz in Boston than the winter holidays and Christmastime. This year an array of concerts and performances, some free, offer music lovers great opportunities.

On Dec. 11, don’t miss a free concert by jazz pianist Billy Childs at 7 p.m. at the Berklee Recital Hall, located at 1140 Boylston Street in Boston.

On Dec. 13, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) celebrates the powerful music of the late, great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, also known as “Bird.” It is the centennial of Parker, who transformed the art form. New arrangements and music from Bird’s repertoire will be heard in orchestrations by Bill Dobbins, featuring Danilo Pérez and Joe Lovano, among others. The show takes place at the Berklee Performance Center at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $15 in advance and $15 to $20 on the day of show.

Across the river in Cambridge, the great drummer Ron Savage holds his annual jazz concert on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. at Abundant Life Church, located at 47 Howard Street. Savage, who teaches at Berklee, is a key figure in the Boston jazz scene: He is co-founder of the Cambridge Jazz Festival and founder of the Mattapan Jazz Festival. Now’s the time to share in the joy and thought he brings to the music.

Another Berklee connection can be found with Bill Banfield, founder of JazzUrbane, who collaborates with Harvard University to run an ongoing series of performances. This holiday season, young jazz harpist Charles Overton is putting on his highly original show on Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. at Cooper Gallery in Cambridge. Admission is free.

If listening to jazz in clubs is more your thing, Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen (DCBK) in the South End has a raft of performances all month. Highlights still to come include alto sax player Tomoki Sanders on Dec. 13, who at the tender age of 25 is making a name for himself stateside as well as in Japan. And to celebrate the year’s end, which couldn’t come too soon, let’s face the music with “The Last Jam,” with a $5 cover, on Dec. 29.

Regattabar is hosting one private party after another the month of December. Lucky you if you’re invited, but if not, check out the only night all month when a performance is open to the public: The Freddy Cole Legacy Band on New Year’s Eve at 9:30 p.m. Vocals, piano and orchestra for $95, which includes a champagne toast.

One of the very best shows in December, and for the year, will take place when Robert Glasper performs at Scullers Jazz Club in Allston on Dec. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Glasper is taking jazz into new dimensions with his finesse and appreciation for what it is, as well as what it could be. Tickets start at $50.

No matter where you go to hear music in Boston this holiday season, it is clear that good things are afoot. More musicians are emerging locally, and more musicians recognized internationally are coming to town. So bundle up and mellow out to end 2019 in style.

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