DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA
Duke passed on in 1974, but grandson Paul Mercer Ellington and the band soldier on. Expect holiday tunes, Ellington classics, and the Ellington/Strayhorn Jazz Nutcracker, a version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Will there be a Duke Ellington Orchestra in 2054? Yes, and by then the transformation of jazz into a "classical" music will be complete. Benaroya Hall, Third Ave and Union St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $16-$65.
LES VOIX VULGAIRES
Wall of Sound throws an Xmas party with an all-star trio of avant vocalists--Amy Denio, Detonator Beth, and King Leah--who warp astonishing vocal techniques into a ululating gumbo of panting, whispering, and yelling. Les Voix Vulgaires range from the mumbling of Muppets gone mad to the childlike voices of space aliens to the rasping moans of that one-night stand that you (and, alas, your neighbors) will never forget. Rendezvous, 2320 Second Ave, 441-9880, 10:30 pm, donation requested.
SUNDAY DECEMBER 26
Circa 530 A.D., St. Benedict prescribed music and manual labor as an antidote to the excesses of monasticism (self-flagellation, standing on a pillar year after year, vermiform mortification, etc.). He outlined seven offices to be spoken and sung. Compline, the last holy office of the day, is sung after dinner, hence the late Sunday start time. The cathedral is chilly this time of year, so dress warmly. St. Mark's Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave E, 323-0300, 9:30 pm, free.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 28
SEATTLE SINGS MESSIAH
Hokum Hall honcho Louis Magor leads assorted musicians and singers in an audience sing-along of Handel's Messiah. Wake me for the part when everyone belts out "Hallelujah!" Town Hall, Eighth Ave and Seneca St, 365-6500, 7 pm, $10/$12.
One of Seattle's few world-class musical exports, Ernestine Anderson remains a stirring and soulful jazz singer. Joining Anderson and her trio is one of the masters of greasy blues saxophone, Houston Person. If you're planning on showing up New Year's Eve, call for reservations and package prices. Also Wed Dec 29 at 7:30 pm, Thurs Dec 30 and Sat Jan 1 with sets at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm, as well as Fri Dec 31 at 8:45 pm and 11 pm. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729, 7:30 pm, $20.50-$24.50.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 29
Named in honor of conceptual artist/composer Yves Klein's ultra-minimal 1958 installation (i.e., an empty room), this new monthly series features a double bill of experimental music. Avant pianist Gust Burns triggers multiple shoebox-sized cassette tape recorders filled with prerecorded piano sounds. Eric Lanzillotta, who rattled the walls quite nicely (but not long enough) at the Rendezvous in October, supplies thick analog drones. Between acts, host DJ William F. Buckley Jr. spins early electronic, avant-classical, and "generally fucked up noise" which might mean several layers of Nono's A Carlo Scarpa and/or the Fractal and Asphodel mixes of Xenakis's Persepolis dropped down two octaves. Re-bar, 1114 E Howell at Boren, 233-9873, 9 pm, $3.