Music News & Reviews

Jazz Town: Charlie Brown’s sounds come to Folly with David Benoit, Jane Monheit

Pianist David Benoit and singer Jane Monheit star in “A Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown.” It’s Friday night at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.
Pianist David Benoit and singer Jane Monheit star in “A Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown.” It’s Friday night at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

When the “Peanuts” characters leaped from newspaper comics pages to television 50 years ago, they moved and danced to the sound of jazz, a score by Vince Guaraldi that was just right.

That music keeps coming back year after year, just like “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and it makes for some good seasonal jazz. Thus pianist David Benoit, a very busy artist with a long list of credits and achievements as performer, composer, producer and conductor, makes it the source of a program he’s bringing to the Folly Theater on Friday. It’s called “A Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown,” and yes, Benoit worked on the music for the recent “Peanuts” movie.

Singer Jane Monheit, one of the most in-demand performers on the New York scene, shares billing on the Folly show with Benoit and the round-headed kid. She and Benoit have recorded together, so there’s a cozy musical relationship going on here.

Expect a well-thought-out presentation of songs you know and maybe a few you don’t, with touches of tasteful jazz piano and a singer who routinely brings the house down.

The show is at 8 p.m. Friday at the Folly, 300 W. 12th St. Tickets are $20 to $50; call 816-474-4444 or check


▪ Trombonist Brian Scarborough’s group appears at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Westport CoffeeHouse Theatre, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave.

▪ The Gospel Jazz Christmas Concert is back at the Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. This year’s show, the second annual, features vibraphonist Justin “Justefan” Thomas, organist Jeremy Thomas, keyboardist Aaron Mayfield, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., bassist Nathan Pence and bassist-pastor Keith Newton. It’s a benefit for the Boone Tabernacle’s scholarship fund. It’s at 7 p.m. Friday at the church, 1317 E. 12th St. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door; check

▪ The Blue Room, 1600 E. 18th St., has a jam run by bassist James Ward and keyboardist Angela Ward at 7 p.m. Monday. Guitarist Max Berry performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Sons of Brasil appear at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and singer Ida McBeth is on at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

▪ The Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., celebrates its third anniversary on Tuesday, with percussionist John Kizilarmut’s trio at 5:30 p.m. and the KC Sound Collective at 9 p.m. The Green Lady also has the Foundation 627 Big Band at 8:30 p.m. Sunday; the group B Vibe at 9 p.m. Monday; the New Jazz Order big band at 7 p.m. Wednesday, followed by organist Ken Lovern’s OJT at 9 p.m.; guitarist Matt Hopper’s trio at 9 p.m. Thursday; pianist Tim Whitmer’s quartet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by singer Molly Hammer at 8:30 p.m. and organist Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 at 10 p.m.; and Victor and Penny and the Loose Change Orchestra at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by OJT at 9:30 p.m.

▪ Thursday will be Musicians Appreciation Day at the American Jazz Museum, with free health screenings, a few gifts and a buffet for those who make the scene happen. It’s from 5 to 7 p.m. in the museum’s atrium, with music by the Elder Statesmen of Kansas City Jazz in the Blue Room.

▪ Jazz in Johnson County lives. The Art Factory, at 5621 W. 135th St., Suite 2630, in the PrairieFire development in Overland Park, has trumpeter Hermon Mehari’s group at 8 p.m. Friday and the Sons of Brasil at 8 p.m. Saturday.

▪ The alternative-jazz series at the RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road, comes to an end with a group led by tenor saxophonist and composer Michael Eaton, a former Kansas Citian who’s making new music on the burgeoning Brooklyn scene. Bassist Jeff Harshbarger, vibraphonist Peter Schlamb and drummer John Kizilarmut are on board. It’s at 8 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Joe Klopus, 816-234-4751