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Five concerts to see on Christmas (and Christmas Eve!)

Hank Shteamer

Concerts on Christmas? Unthinkable! Well, not really. Plenty of us, whether because of our non-Christian faith, our distance from our families, our raging atheism or some other reason entirely, will actually find ourselves without concrete plans on JC's birthday and/or Christmas Eve. And while there aren't a whole lot of live shows taking place on Christmas and Christmas Eve—for example: indie-rock and hip-hop die-hards, you're pretty much out of luck—we can present you with these five solid options. Expect blissfully uncrowded subway rides, super-attentive drink service and generally warm, festive vibes.

Eric Alexander and Harold Mabern at Smoke; Tuesday, December 23–Thursday, January 1
Hardbop tenor ace Eric Alexander and septuagenarian Memphis piano titan Harold Mabern are holding it down uptown for a roomy holiday run that includes both Christmas and NYE.

Kenny Barron at Village Vanguard; Tuesday, December 23–Sunday, December 28
If you're seeking a downtown jazz fix, Mabern's contemporary Kenny Barron (pictured), one of the classiest pianists on the scene for close to 50 years, has you covered.

Harlem Gospel Choir at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill; Wednesday, December 24
The world-renowned gospel group guarantees a "dose of the Holy Ghost" at its long-running Times Square residency. We're sure that dose will be especially potent at the HGC's two Christmas Eve sets.

The Mandingo Ambassadors at Barbès; Wednesday, December 24
Experience authentic West African grooves in a cozy Park Slope bar. The Ambassadors rarely ever skip a single Wednesday at Barbès, and Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve 2014 are no exception.

Metropolitan Klezmer at Cornelia Street Café; Thursday, December 25
Drummer Eve Sicular's festive klezmer crew strips down to its Santa Klez quintet incarnation for a pair of matinee sets in the Village.


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