Holiday Blues

// Maia Santell brings the blues for annual holiday concert and dance.


Maia Santell and her bluesy backup band House Blend– Ted Dortch on tenor saxophone, Gary Crooks on guitar, Steve Luceno on bass, and Bruce Simpson on drums – will be brining the Christmas spirit to Jazzbones for the fourth year in a row at the upcoming Holiday Concert and Dance.

Jazz and blues fans and anyone who enjoys getting out to hear music played during the holidays will find something attuned to their ears at this show that promises a range of styles and some interesting twists on winter classics.

“It’s such a special treat to be at Jazzbones and do all the jazzy and bluesy holiday songs,” Santell said. “We have dancers come too and the venue is so nice for us because we get the listening aficionados as well as the dancers who come out. Combining the concert and dance is a nice luxury. I think Jazzbones is one of best nightclubs in town and we wanted to have it there so that we could attract a versatile audience. There isn’t another venue like it; it’s the best place to showcase holiday music.”

For the holiday material, staples such as “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Please Come Home For Christmas” and “Santa Baby” will be making the cut and will be performed to ring in the holidays in classic form. House Blend and Santell will be putting their signature styles to work as well to perform these numbers in ways audience members will never have experienced before. in addition to an assortment of the band’s own songs.

“We’ll be playing mostly our own material which is a mix of jazz, blues and contemporary favorites and R&B and some Latin, which caters to our professional dancers,” Santell said. “We have a large database of dancers which like to do all styles of music and ballroom, but then again we incorporate special jazzy and bluesy styles into Christmas tunes…and those are really crowed pleasers.

“We’ll also be featuring a 13-year-old prodigy, Jumpin’ Josh who is a Tacoma native. I come in on some of his gigs and feature him on mine and he’s just a little genius. If I’m still around in 10 years when he can legally get into bar scene, it will be great to work with him,” Santell laughed.

While many shows at various music venues around the city are not open to all ages, this special Christmas event at Jazzbones will be all ages, making it an ideal event for the whole family of music lovers both young and old.

“It’s really a treat because we can have the families. It’s a real highlight and a draw for this particular event – it attracts families and I love performing for children,” Santell said. “I make tiny shakers because I used to teach music. I take eggs made of plastic, fill them up with beans and rice, pass them out to children and have them play along with us on songs. We do ‘Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer’ as a cha-cha, with lots of percussion and Latin style so that kids feel good about shaking along to the groove.”

The band will also be selling copies of their live CDs recorded at Jazzbones called “Dance With Me! Live at Jazzbones” for $10.

Holiday Concert and Dance will take place at Jazzbones (2803 6th Ave.) on Dec. 17 from 7-10 p.m. Cover is $8. For more information, contact Gary Grape at (253) 230-6851 or


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