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Holiday music with a twist

Modern jazz, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, gospel, New Orleans-driven blues and funk, along with plenty of improvisation, all add up to holiday music with a twist.

David Scoggin's Christmas Jazz Show, featuring Opus 3 with Michael Vannice, Theresa McCoy and Jim Calhoun, will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 11-12, at Avalon Bar and Grill, 105 W. Valley View Road, Talent.

"I've been doing Christmas shows for as long as I've been performing," Scoggin says. "So I've been working on the arrangements for this show for about 25 years."

The show features Scoggin on piano and organ; Vannice on saxes, flute and organ; McCoy on drums and percussion; and Calhoun on acoustic bass. Jazz guitarist Ed Dunsavage and vocalist Sue Carney will sit in on the performance. There also will be a number featuring Dal Carver on trombone.

"The arrangements are familiar," Scoggin says. "But we'll perform pieces like 'Oh, Holy Night,' 'Silent Night' and 'Winter Wonderland' in 3/4 time. For 'O Tannenbaum,' we'll go from 3/4 to 4/4 time.

"A lot of the music is downright pretty, with Vannice playing a lot of flute. But we're also going to go into free improv in the middle of some of the songs, like 'Greensleeves.' "

Audiences can expect to hear "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer" played in a salsa groove; Albert King's funky "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' "; and a French-Louisiana version of "Le Divin Enfant" sang in French by Scoggin and Carney.

"I had to take a French lesson for that one," Scoggin says. "But I leave the self-expression up to the players, they're so good."

Scoggin taught jazz history at Southern Oregon University for nine years. He has been in charge of the music school at the Briscoe ArtWing for two and a half years. He also teaches private piano and guitar. Before moving to the Rogue Valley in 1999, he worked as a jazz pianist and educator in Minneapolis and San Francisco. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

Scoggin says that he and the members of the show at the Avalon plan to record the Christmas jazz arrangements as a group in early 2008.

Cover for the show is $12. Reservations are suggested. Call 512-8864.

Left to right, Michael Vannice, Theresa McCoy and David Scoggin, will team up with Ed Dunsavage, Sue Carney and Dal Carver for a show at the Avalon. - Phot by Jim Young