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Ellington and Strayhorn’s The Nutcracker Suite at Studenaker

The acclaimed Chicago Jazz Orchestra (CJO) will debut a new holiday music tradition in Chicago when it presents Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s The Nutcracker Suite, a jazz-infused rendition of Tchaikovsky’s original 1893 Nutcrackerscore, in its entirety, one-night-only, Friday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Studebaker Theatre, 410 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building.

Single tickets are $35-$45. Reserve tickets in advance at, or purchase tickets on site that evening, subject to availability.

A stellar composer’s masterwork plus an inspired arranger and his jazz orchestra equals Duke Ellington’s The Nutcracker Suite. The beloved 1960 Columbia label album introduced exciting new jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, arranged by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Ellington’s entire eight-song Jazz Nutcracker will comprise act one of CJO’s Not So Silent Night holiday concert, from Toot, Toot, Tootie Toot(inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Reed Pipes), to Sugar Rum Cherry(Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), to Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance).

Act two includes the 17-piece Chicago Jazz Orchestra, under the director of Jeff Lindberg, performing holiday favorites arranged for big band. Selections include Jingle Bells by James Lord Pierpont, Vince Guardaldi and Lee Mendelson’s Christmas Time is Here, Stan Kenton Orchestra’s A Merry ChristmasHannukah Medleyarranged by Paul Ferguson, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Jules Styne and Sammy Cahn, Maynard Ferguson Orchestra’s Christmas for Moderns medley, and more.

Smart Chicago jazz enthusiasts can save money by adding Not So Silent Night to a CJO 2017-18 three-concert package including Sophisticated Giant: A Tribute to Dexter Gordon, with special guest Joshua Redman (March 25), and A CJO Salute to Sinatra at the Sands featuring Paul Marinaro (May 12).

Discounted three-concert packages are $85 (balcony) and $115 (floor), and are available at All three concerts will be performed at the beautiful Studebaker Theatre.

Chicago Tribune cited the CJO as “one of the best big bands in the country.” For more information, visit


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