MUSIC BOX: The Holiday Psyche

By on December 20, 2016

Be merry with jazz, polka, saxy beats, and preschool carolers.

Joe Rudd

Joe Rudd

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Whether you’re a fan or not, Christmastime and holiday music stirs up memories and nostalgia. The recycling and updating of the great Americana songbook is a part of this tradition, and some of the most inviting soundscapes can be found in the local jazz community.

The Granary at Spring Creek Resort is a mainstay in the jazz community, and Friday nights are led by the dancing fingers and effusive personality of pianist Pam Phillips. Phillips’ early career as a standout Broadway musician in New York City as well as forays into classical, new age, and pop are among the foundations for her acclaimed ragtime and jazz performances. Usually a trio with rotating musicians, like world-renowned bassist Bill Plummer, Phillips often has colorful guests that sit-in. The result: Phillips has her very own dynamic micro-community, which has become part of the attraction.

Pam Phillips Trio, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 23 at The Granary. Free.    

Peter Chandler, a.k.a. “Chanman” for reggae and “Papa Chan” for jazz, is the most accessible of acts this week as he’ll be playing three different rooms. Old-time jazz from the 30s, 40s and 50s via Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cole Porter is the heart of Papa Chan Trio, which features Chandler on hollow body guitar/vocals along with John Clark a.k.a. Johnny C Note on upright bass. Saxophonist Jason Fritts rounds out the trio. Trumpeter Rachel Gray Bundy and drummer Jacob Gampe will join for a quintet on Friday at the Alpenhof Bistro in Teton Village.

This is an aside, but what about polka? Chandler also leads the Hof Band, a polka seven-piece that delivers the Austrian vibe directly to your ears. Get on board with your ski boots every Sunday at the Alpenhof starting on New Year’s Day.

“The Hof Band features a lot of Community Band members that can step in and read charts, so it’s really a different type of band for me,” Chandler said. “It’s quirky.”

Papa Chan Jazz, 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, December 23 at the Alpenhof Bistro; 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 24 at the Trap Bar at Grand Targhee; 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, December 25 at the Silver Dollar Showroom. All shows are free.

Young and merry

For the last seven years The Wort Hotel has hosted Kids Karols on the Silver Dollar stage. An evening that used to host middle school-aged students singing holiday carols has evolved into a choir of preschool aged kids, and the people dig it.

“It’s the staff’s favorite event of the year because it’s just so adorable,” said Andi Caruso, event founder and organizer. “There are about 20 kids from each of the five preschools in attendance that will perform.”

Those preschools include Jackson Hole Discovery, Children’s Learning Center, Little Learners, Bright Beginnings, Little Lambs, and The Fireflies.

Kids Karols, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 21 at the Silver Dollar Showroom in The Wort Hotel. Free.

Sax on the beats

There’s an element of spontaneity in everything Joe Rudd has been pursuing since moving to Jackson from L.A. last spring. A heads-up, quick-on-your-feet type of musician like Rudd is sought after, and his various projects reflect that. From a studio remix that made it onto Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons’ new album Dojo to “guest saxing” with DJs and multiple bands across nearly every genre, the Wyoming-born, Hoback-livin’ social butterfly is utilizing his talent to leave an indelible mark on the Jackson scene.

This mentality will play out Friday in collaboration with DJ Fiesta Bob, who produces house beats. The two have never performed together, and the session will be impromptu.

DJ Fiesta Bob & Joe Rudd present Sax on the Beats, 10 p.m. Friday, December 23 at Town Square Tavern. Free.

Bo Elledge

Bo Elledge

Rudd’s love of beat production and song mapping in his studio has translated to the club side under his moniker Goldcone. The Weapons’ members—drummer Phil Walker and guitarist Jack Tolan—have been joining him on the live instrumentation side along with Rudd’s arsenal of sax sounds for what has been a growing dance experience.

“I’ve been working on the production side so hard, and I wasn’t quite expecting how much people are loving it at The Rose,” Rudd said. “I’ve dug out some beats from old school funk music and I’ve been using a vocoder for some Daft Punk-style vocals. It made me nervous at first because there’s so many moving parts, but its been working well.” Goldcone and guests, 10 p.m. Friday, December 30 in the lobby of The Rose (DJ ERA will play inside The Rose). Free.

Rudd and Canyon Kids guitarist/vocalist Bo Elledge will join forces for a smooth indie folk vibe every Wednesday at the Tavern, something he says is also evolving.

Bo Elledge & Joe Rudd, 10 p.m. Wednesdays at Town Square Tavern. Free. PJH

Aaron Davis is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.



Kids Karols (Silver Dollar), PTO (Mangy Moose), Bo Elledge & Joe Rudd (Town Square Tavern)


Salsa Night (The Rose), Major Zephyr (Silver Dollar)


Pam Phillips Trio (The Granary), Sax on the Beats (Town Square Tavern)


Jackson 6 (Silver Dollar), Papa Chan Jazz Trio (The Trap)


Papa Chan Jazz Trio (Silver Dollar), Open Mic (Pinky G’s)


Tucker Smith Band (Mangy Moose), Jackson Hole Hootenanny (Dornan’s)


Maw Band (Mangy Moose) Open Mic (Virginian)

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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