Orlando Jazz Orchestra takes cues from Duke Ellington to put a fresh spin on the old 'Nutcracker'


We're still a couple of weeks away from the Big C, and we're already hitting peak Nutcracker/A Christmas Carol/A Christmas Story for the year. But this version of The Nutcracker from Orlando Jazz Orchestra is a much-needed fresh take on a holiday classic. Originally recorded in 1960, Duke Ellington's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's 1862 score breathed new life into the suite just in time for its centenary. Ellington and Billy Strayhorn reworked the familiar tunes with the sounds and traditions of American swing and bop, resulting in a Nutcracker that elicits more toe-tapping than surreptitious snoozing. Stick around after the intermission for a jazz arrangement of Prokofiev, some festive classics sung by Amy Parnell, and Duke Ellington's arrangement of sing-along favorite "Jingle Bells." The partnership between Orlando Jazz Orchestra and the Blue Bamboo Center here could well result in a new, old Christmastime tradition.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 | Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts, 1905 Kentucky Ave., Winter Park | 407-636-9951 | bluebambooartcenter.com | $15 Update: SOLD OUT