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John Pizzarelli
John Pizzarelli

Jazz Hands


Wynton Marsalis knows his jam from his jelly roll. Out promoting his new CD, The Magic Hour, the Juilliard-trained trumpeter says a jazz jam session doesn't necessarily produce the best music. "All the guys get so competitive," Marsalis told an interviewer. "It's a top this, top that kind of thing." Test Marsalis' theory and expect spotlight-grabbing improvisation among the smooth, fused sounds at this weekend's North Texas Jazz Festival at the Hotel Inter-Continental, 15201 Dallas Parkway, Addison. For the fourth year, top professional jazz performers and energetic music students join forces for three days of performances, clinics and master classes. Headliners this year are the John Pizzarelli Trio and the James Williams Quintet, anchored by the University of North Texas' One O'Clock Lab Band. Throughout the festival, April 2 through April 4, jazz drummer, percussionist and scholar Hal Miller will present continuous screenings of rare jazz films. The Pizzarelli Trio plays Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight with the UNT Two O'Clock Lab Band. On Saturday, 8 p.m. to midnight, the sound immersion continues with James Williams and UNT's One O'Clock Lab Band. On Sunday, between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., catch Sebastian Whittaker and the Creators plus the Adjudicators Showcase, a juried panel's picks of the best student big bands, combos and vocal ensembles. Students from 44 American schools auditioned for these spots. Evening concert tickets are $25 for students and $35 for adults. Sunday's events and a jazz brunch are $25 for students and $35 for adults. Call 972-450-7262 or 1-800-ADDISON or visit --Annabelle Massey Helber

Funny Bones

If the largely forgotten Tom Hanks vehicle Punchline theorized that the life of a stand-up comedian is more pricks and pokes than kicks and jokes, then Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary Comedian confirmed it. The film wallows in failed bits and midjoke brain farts, late-night sets where nothing much works. Backstage, Seinfeld is profane and profound, waxing on about the pursuit of the perfect laugh. By the end, he gets more than a few of those, with a new set stemming from his grown-up life as a husband and father, rather than another dude who wants to know what exactly is the deal with Ovaltine. Seinfeld is richer than most dessert trays and has managed to keep his post-Seinfeld legacy intact. He could just raise his kids instead of using them as sources. But he's a comedian. He can't do anything else. He performs 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Tickets are $47.50 to $77.50. Call Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000. --Zac Crain

Acting Out of Love

Be it Frenzy's foot in a potato pile, Cary Grant's soused stumbling in North by Northwest or everything about The Trouble With Harry, the work of Alfred Hitchcock offers as many playful winks as it does the shrewd thrills for which his films are best known. So who's the joke on in reference to Pocket Sandwich Theatre's newest spoof Notorious Psycho Birds in the North by Northwest Rear Window? Dedicated fans need not worry because, regardless of Hitch's cheekiness, it's not the kind of humor to be mocked like a National Lampoon flick. Instead, the parody will run with the most affectionate of intentions. Feel free to throw popcorn at any bad James Stewart impersonations beginning Friday and running through May 15. The Pocket Sandwich Theatre is at 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane. Call 214-821-1860 or visit --Matt Hursh

Subliminal Sensation

With all the crisp clarity of HDTV (b.f.d.), seven local dance companies (get a real job) will showcase classical (anal), contemporary (cerebral) and modern (hormonal) dance performances with wild abandon (personal injury lawsuit) and reckless joy (unprotected sex) in the concert hall (barn) of the Mesquite (boonies) Arts Center, 1527 N. Galloway, on Saturday at 7 p.m. One by one, the Mesquite Repertory Ballet, Allen Civic Ballet, Collin County Ballet Theatre, millermuller ballet, M Project, Beckles Dancing Company and Dallas Ballet Theatre will perform for Mesquite's annual Dance Festival. Tickets are $8 for adults or $6 for seniors and students. Call 972-216-8124. --Annabelle Massey Helber


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