.Things to do in Santa Cruz

Week of December 6



TREE-OH Holiday humor and fun.


Jazz drummer Matt Wilson is a habitual mood-lifter with his ever-present sense of humor and fun. He’s long since proven his merits as a percussionist and composer with a dozen albums and several ensembles, including the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts and Trio M—not to mention five straight years as a Downbeat Poll Rising Star. His 2010 album, Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-0, revived the tradition of holiday-themed jazz LPs. Wilson’s irreverent Tree-O ensemble includes tenor saxophonist Jeff Lederer and bassist Paul Sikivie. DAN EMERSON
INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St. $31.50/adv., $36.75/door. 427-2227.


secure document shredding


Chabad By The Sea and Roaring Camp invite everyone to share in Chanukah traditions and ride the Holiday Lights Train on a 60-minute trip through the streets of Santa Cruz while listening to Chanukah stories, playing dreidel and enjoying provided kosher refreshments. Be there 15 mins before departure for the lighting of the Menorah. Departures from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk at at 5:00, 6:30, and 8:00pm.
Order tickets at roaringcamp.com JK




The genre-blending sound of Virginia-based combo Butcher Brown can be described as a “hyphenated hybrid.” Founded as a quintet in 2009, BB has been on a mission to keep jazz moving forward by injecting elements of hip-hop, soul, funk and R&B. Their latest album, Solar Music, calls on a diverse batch of guests, like rappers Nappy Nina, Pink Siifu and Jay Prince, 8-string guitar wizard Charlie Hunter, and sax man and composer Braxton Cook. The core band includes trumpeter-saxophonist Marcus Tenney, guitarist Morgan Burrs, percussionist Corey Fonville, bassist Andrew Randazzo and keyboardist DJ Harrison. DAN EMERSON

INFO: 7pm, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar St. $36.75/adv, $42.00/door. 427-2227.



Oh, to be one of a set of twins who play jazz together! It’s an odd dream, sure, but a dream that the Mattson 2’s Jonathan and Jared Mattson get to live daily. Experimental, vibey and fun, their music would be the perfect soundtrack to a montage of summer evening exploits abroad—the kind of music made for eating tapas on a busy cobblestone street. Their collaborators include an eclectic list of musical luminaries like Farmer Dave (of Kurt Vile), Money Mark (of the Beastie Boys) and Toro y Moi. The Mattson 2 belong on that list themselves. JESSICA IRISH

INFO: 9pm, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $22 adv, $26 door. 479-1854.




Tired of the same old holiday shopping routine? The Arts Council of Santa Cruz County makes it easy to mix it up and find some unique gifts with local charm at the Winter Art Market at the Tannery Arts Center. This year’s festivities include a lineup of local musicians curated by Everyone’s Music School, art exhibitions to peruse and over a dozen open artist studios offering one-of-a-kind items for purchase. Free art activities, a new pop-up café and other holiday-themed surprises await visitors. The Winter Art Market is not an impersonal or transactional shop but “an immersive, creative experience.” ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 10am-5pm, Tannery Arts Center, 1010-1070 River St, Santa Cruz. Free. 475-9600.



It’s no secret that Santa Cruz is a musical city. From the street musicians and cafe open mics to countless bars and venues, nowhere is Santa Cruz’s musicality more present than at Be Natural Music, the school program that teaches kids from grade to high school about the fundamentals of song composition, classical and jazz theory and the experience of performing on stage. This Saturday, Be Natural’s annual fundraiser kicks off at 12:30pm and features live performances by several student bands, an auction for guitars, amps, and gift cards to local venues—and lots more, with all proceeds going to the school. MAT WEIR

INFO: 12:30pm, Abbott Square, 725 Front St., Santa Cruz. Free. 218-8164.



Gill Landry founded his first band, the Kitchen Syncopators, in 1998. The band self-released seven albums, which have become collector’s items for some and musical blueprints for others. In 2007, he joined the bluegrassy string band Old Crow Medicine Show and was with them for eight years. Since then, he released three solo albums, the latest being 2020’s Skeleton at the Banquet. His songs weave tales of characters alive and dead, ballads that range from the hopeful to the downtrodden. He blends American genres like blues, folk and country for a sound that’s as dusty as it is beautiful. MW

INFO: 8pm, Lille Aeske, 13160 Highway 9, Boulder Creek. $30/adv, $35/door. 703-4183.




Winter is officially here. It’s dark by 5:30pm. New Year’s Eve is around the corner. And here in Santa Cruz, it’s hoodie and beanie weather. Celebrate the seasonal change with the chamber music of the Musical Soulmates Performers Collaborative. Combining music composed by the likes of Ingrid Stӧlz and Florence Price with poetry written a century ago by Canadian Mohawk poet Emily Pauline Johnson and Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, “To One Beyond The Sea” is a meeting of the old with the new. In keeping with Musical Soulmates’ mission, this concert pays tribute to Black authors, musicians and composers to “radiate a vibrant presence modeling diversity and delivering empowerment, healing and joy!” MW

INFO: 2pm & 4:15pm, Indexical, 1050 River St. #119, Santa Cruz. $25 suggested donation. 227-7535.




Reason’s 2016 mixtape, The Free Album, put him on the contemporary hip-hop map, but signing with Top Dawg Entertainment in 2018 sent him to the elite stratosphere. In recent years, the Carson, CA, rapper has collaborated with other big names associated with the famed label, like Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q, bringing his intricate, introspective lyricism to the table every time. The artist celebrates his August 2023 album, Porches, with his Off the Porch Tour, where his exploration of the front porch as a border between the streets and the home brings his signature urgency to entirely new places. AM

INFO: 8pm, Catalyst Club, 1101 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. $20. 713-5492.




One of the greatest experiences of the modern era is witnessing the convergence of several musical influences in a single act. Chicano Batman’s lead vocalist, Bardo Martinez, embodies this in his solo act, evoking ’70s funk and soul while layering in contemporary sonic structures. Bardo might rap a little bit. He might distort his vocals—which, undistorted, have a jagged edge that adds a cool, mysterious energy to his sound. He might include brass and flute in the background. A complicated form of beauty: on the edge of messy, containing multitudes, collecting influences along the journey of life. JI

INFO: 8pm, Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. $22/adv, $24/door. 704-7113.


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