A Nanaimo jazz pianist is performing an animated salute to the season.
Patrick Courtin said he’s been listening to the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas almost every Christmas for as long as he can remember and on Dec. 27 he’ll be performing a concert built around those compositions for the first time at Unitarian Hall.
“It just checks off two big boxes, really, which is that it’s music that as musicians we really enjoy playing and it’s also very nostalgic and really appreciated by the audience,” said Courtin, who just wrapped up a busy two weeks of performances with the Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular.
The 1965 animated Christmas television special, featuring characters from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, is accompanied by a jazz score and arrangements of traditional Christmas songs by American pianist Vince Guaraldi. That’s the music that Courtin and his trio will be performing during the first half of the evening.
“As a jazz musician, it’s an example what you’d call straight-ahead jazz,” Courtin explained. “Jazz is actually a pretty big word and tends to have a lot of subgenres within it, but it’s got some variety, it’s got some room for improvisations and it’s got some stuff that’s just really fun and that the audience gets a kick out of.”
For the second half of the program, Courtin will be joined by vocalist Simon Paterson and their group Mahogany Hall as they perform Christmas songs made famous by mid-century jazz singers.
“We tend to do golden age of jazz stuff, particularly stuff that would have been done by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, and those guys did a lot of Christmas music as well. So we’re going to pull from that repertoire,” he said.
Courtin added that the reasons these songs continue to be popular for more than 50 years is partly due to nostalgia but also because of the songs’ timeless themes of family and togetherness.
“A lot of these songs, they might … have strong sentimental themes and some of them are just sort of feel-good stuff that people have listened to for a long time and it’s warm and cozy,” he said. “It’s the musical equivalent of mulled apple cider or a mulled wine.”
WHAT’S ON … Patrick Courtin presents A Charlie Brown Christmas at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Rd., on Friday Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. Ticket are $20 for adults and $8 for youths between the age of 12 and 19 cash only at the door or $15 for adults and $5 for youths in advance from Fascinating Rhythm and online. Children under 12 get in free.
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