Mellow out for holidays with smooth jazz 

Feeling stressed with all the pressures of the holiday season? A sure way to ease the mind and soul comes in the form of "Cool Jazz Christmas," onstage at 8 p.m. Friday at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St., San Francisco. Sponsored by Smooth Jazz KKSF, the show’s lineup features the hottest in the genre: pianist David Benoit, guitarist-vocalist Jonathan Butler, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and singer-songwriter Michael Franks, who’s not quite a regular on the touring circuit.

The set list will likely include tunes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Benoit’s tribute to the great Vince Guaraldi. A few years ago, Franks put out a holiday CD, "Watching the Snow," and, chances are, there’ll be a tune or two from that disc, and possibly his rendition of Guaraldi’s "Christmas Time is Here."

Word has it that Butler may chime in with Bob Marley’s "No Woman No Cry" and Whalum will wail on "Do You Hear What I Hear."

While the theme is Christmas, some smooth jazz lovers might not mind a short diversion into material from Whalum and Butler’s latest outings. Both appear on a new tribute album. "Forever, For Always, For Luther Volume II," the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated tribute to Vandross.

It’s for a good cause, too. The project supports the American Heart Association’s Power to End Stroke campaign.

Tickets to "Cool Jazz Christmas" are $35.50-$45.50. Call (800) 225-2277 or visit

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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