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Picks for the week of December 12-18, 2007

Saturday Dec. 15
Paramount Theatre
2025 Broadway

Smooth Jazz Christmas

IF THERE'S one thing worse than either smooth jazz or Christmas music, you'd think it would be smooth jazz Christmas music, but that's only because you're some kind of grinch who can't appreciate jazz when it's smooth. And in the world of smooth jazz, none are as smooth as Mr. Elevator himself, Dave Koz. To his credit, Koz's soft-spoken sax playing has earned him ample Billboard success, along with his gentle contemporary Kenny G. With his ever-present accompaniment of background vocalists, synthesized pianos and drum machines, Koz has put together more coffee-shop classics than Josh Groban and James Taylor combined. The San Fernando native will grace the Bay Area to perform his 10th Smooth Jazz Christmas show, featuring guest performers Jonathan Butler, Wayman Tisdale and Kimberley Locke.

Steel Pulse
Sunday Dec. 16
Little Fox Theater
2209 Broadway
Redwood City

A Celtic Christmas With Gypsy Soul

YET ANOTHER appealing option for holiday music fun, Gypsy Soul's Celtic Christmas will satisfy contemporary music buffs with its unique blend of New Age pop and word-beat folk, all wrapped up in the colorful songs of Christmas. Recently reaching the Top 5 on the international New Age Reporter radio charts, Gypsy Soul's complex instrumental structuring and vocal brilliance has earned them praise from critics, fans and probably even St. Nick himself. In addition to their repertoire of holiday classics, the group boasts an impressive collection of original songs that manage to add a touch of modernity to the age-old story of Christmas.

Steel Pulse
Wednesday Dec. 12
Stanford Memorial Church
450 Serra Mall, Bldg 500
Stanford University

A Chanticleer Christmas

FOR THOSE keen on staying within the realm of Christmas tradition, look no further than Stanford Lively Arts' presentation of Grammy Award–winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer. The San Francisco based a cappella group will showcase a catalog of Gregorian chants, medieval and Renaissance music, contemporary classics and holiday carols. Tenor Louis Botto founded the group back in 1978, and since then, Chanticleer has become a nationally renowned force in the classical genre. Named "the world's reigning male chorus" by The New Yorker magazine, the 12-member group has won two Grammy awards, and recently took the honors for Musical America's 2008 "Ensemble of the Year." Catch the holiday spirit in a time-honored custom of choral music with the Chanticleer ensemble.

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