Seasonal Special Happenings

Cleveland Jazz Orchestra Does the Nutcracker

When: Sat., Dec. 18 2010

The big draw on the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra's program tonight is certainly Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite. With its swinging rearrangements of Tchaikovsky's familiar tunes — like "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" recast as "Sugar Rum Cherry" — it's a whole lot sassier than most of what passes for holiday music. But the bigger deal for the big brass band is music director and trumpet virtuoso Sean Jones' plan to debut some smaller ensembles, including one that features electric instruments. "This will be the first concert where we break the band down, featuring a quintet, a sextet, an octet," Jones says. When he became CJO's director last year, Jones promised to shake things up and bring the big band into the present. Plugging in some amps seems like a step in that direction. They perform tonight at 8 p.m. at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St. at Playhouse Square. Tix are $20 to $40; snag them at 216-241-6000 or at clevelandjazz.org. — Michael Gill

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