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Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays!

Are you tired of the same old holiday music?

Do not worry! On Sunday, December 23, the Larry McDonough Quartet (LMQ) will perform music in celebration of Seinfeld’s fictional December 23 holiday “Festivus for the Rest of Us” along with other odd takes on holiday music at Black Dog.

Festivus was created by Seinfeld character Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) as an alternative holiday in response to the commercialization of Christmas. The tradition of Festivus begins with an aluminum pole. Frank cites its “very high strength-to-weight ratio” as appealing. During Festivus, the pole is displayed unadorned. Frank admits, “I find tinsel distracting.”

Festivus includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances.” During the Festivus meal, each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year. Frank begins by yelling, “I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you're going to hear about it!” Throughout the meal, Festivus participants label easily explainable events as “Festivus Miracles.” After the meal, “Feats of Strength” are held where family members wrestle the head of the household to the floor. Festivus concludes when the head of the household is pinned.

For Festivus, LMQ will perform:

•        Airing of Grievances: “She’s Too Good for Me” by Sting

•        Festivus Miracles: “If I Only Had a Brain” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg from The Wizard of Oz

•        Feats of Strength: “We Are the Champions” by Queen combined with “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock

A music stand pole will serve as the Festivus Pole. During the break after the first set, audience members are invited to the stage to present 30 seconds of their own “Airing of Grievances.”

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Angels Cover Only (002).jpg


LMQ also will perform odd holiday tunes and arrangements from the CD Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things that includes:

•        “My Favorite Things” – Tribal 5/4 based on the Coltrane version

•        “Jingle Bells” – Ballad in the style of Bill Evans with Gershwin-like harmonies

•        “Silent Night” – 5/4 with minor-major harmonies

•        “Scarborough Fair” – Jazz fusion in 7/4 with free improvisations

•        “Alone in the World” – from Mr. McGoo’s Christmas Carol

•        “Simple Gifts” – 7/4 with minor harmonies

•        “Little Drummer Boy” – Polytonal smooth jazz

•        “Ode to Joy” – In the style of a Bill Evans waltz

•        “We Three Kings” – Middle Eastern 5/4

•        “Angels We Have Heard on High” – 7/4 with Gershwin-like harmonies


Andrea Canter noted, this is “not your mother’s holiday album.... Spending the holidays with Larry McDonough is like the best of family reunions – getting reacquainted with relatives who seem so different from how we remember them, and so much more interesting.”

Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things


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On top of this, LMQ has new odd holiday arrangements including:

•        “It’s Love, It’s Christmas” – Bill Evans manuscript provided by his widow Nenette Evans arranged in 3/4

•        “I'll Be Home for Christmas” – 7/8 dark minor

•        “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – 3/4 bebop

•        “Christmas Time Is Here” – 3/4 dark minor


Minnesota Book Award Winner Richard Terrill adds seasonal poetry.


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Time permitting, LMQ will play pieces from its recent two-CD Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures that has played on radio stations and streaming services around the world. The CD charted #18 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Jazz Album Chart and includes arrangements of pieces by Led Zeppelin, Prince, and Clapton.

 Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures

Earlier Event: December 22
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
Later Event: December 24
Christmas Eve