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Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week: David Archuleta, Kinchmas, Stanley Jordan

David Archuleta is scheduled to perform on Thursday, December 23, at Chandler Center for the Arts.
David Archuleta is scheduled to perform on Thursday, December 23, at Chandler Center for the Arts. Zack Knudsen
This week is crunch time as everyone’s going to be grinding while making preparations for Christmas. Not everyone will be doing last-minute shopping or gearing up for the holidays, though. A handful of notable shows are scheduled to take place from Monday, December 20, to Thursday, December 23, at local music venues.

The list includes performances by American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, Grammy-nominated guitarist Stanley Jordan, and renowned jazz artist David Benoit. Local indie-pop band Kinch will also be staging their first-ever gig in more than a decade as they haul their popular holiday event Kinchmas out of mothballs.

Read on for more details about each of these gigs or check out Phoenix New Times' online concert listings for more music events. It’s worth noting that COVID-19 cases are beginning to surge again because of the ultra-contagious Omicron variant. If you’re considering going to a concert, keep in mind that multiple local venues require proof of vaccinations or a recent negative test result to attend shows. More info can be found on the ticketing sites for each concert.
click to enlarge Jazz pianist and musician David Benoit. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Jazz pianist and musician David Benoit.
Mesa Arts Center

A Charlie Brown Christmas at Musical Instrument Museum

Christmas music can be bad (we’re looking at you, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), but the Vince Guaraldi Trio neatly righted that ship in 1965 with its now-iconic soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Renowned jazz musician David Benoit stages a yearly tour in honor of both the special and its soundtrack, which stops by the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E Mayo Boulevard, on Monday, December 20. It's a festive reminder that holiday music can be an art and will feature many of your favorite tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as some originals from Benoit, who took over as the composer for the newer Peanuts Christmas specials. Showtime is 7 p.m. and tickets are $53.50 to $73.50. Lauren Cusimano
click to enlarge Stanley Jordan performing in Russia in 2014. - U.S. CONSULATE VLADIVOSTOK/CC BY-ND 2.0/FLICKR
Stanley Jordan performing in Russia in 2014.

Stanley Jordan at Musical Instrument Museum

Grammy-nominated guitarist Stanley Jordan has always done things his way. As a kid, he played the piano, but when his family moved into a smaller apartment, there was no room so he picked up the guitar. Frustrated with his new instrument's limitations, he started playing it like a piano — a style that would make him famous. Other guitarists, such as Lenny Breau, Eddie Van Halen, and Emmett Chapman, also used piano-inspired “hammer-ons” and “pull-offs,” but Jordan developed his “touch” or "tapping" technique on his own, allowing him to create the sound of two, even three, instruments at the simultaneously.

Today, he’s considered the first “touch virtuoso.” After earning a music degree from Princeton in the early '80s, Jordan rejected an offer from jazz label Elektra because he felt he wasn't ready for the big time and played on the streets of New York, Philadelphia, and other towns for a year and a half before finally signing with Blue Note (the zenith of jazz labels) in 1985. His popularity, like that of most jazz musicians, peaked in the '80s, but he continues to tour, perform, and astound. He’s scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22, at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Tickets are $30.50 to $41.50. Eric Dieckman
click to enlarge Singer and American Idol runner-up David Archuleta. - CHANDLER CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Singer and American Idol runner-up David Archuleta.
Chandler Center for the Arts

David Archuleta at Chandler Center for the Arts

It’s been a big year for singer David Archuleta. Over the past 12 months, the American Idol runner-up has gained a large following on TikTok, where he answers fan questions and stitches in videos of himself harmonizing with other singers. Archuleta has also made the choice to live his life more freely. This past June, the “Crush” singer came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community via Instagram, though he didn't explicitly label his sexuality. Archuleta is still a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and in his post, he emphasized that people who are LGBTQ+ can still have relationships with God. On Thursday, December 23, Archuleta’s worlds of the church and vocal performance will collide when he brings his Christmas tour to Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the singer performing a mix of holiday favorites and his signature tunes. Tickets are $39.90 to $74.90. Alex Gonzalez
click to enlarge A scene from Kinchmas in 2009. - NEW TIMES ARCHIVES
A scene from Kinchmas in 2009.
New Times archives

Kinchmas at Crescent Ballroom

The holidays are a time of year when miracles are said to happen, though they can be a pretty rare occurrence. That being said, local band Kinch making a long-awaited return to the stage might qualify as a legitimate example of the phenomenon. The indie-pop ensemble was regular presence in the Phoenix music scene during the late 2000s, putting on memorable performances at local venues like the Rhythm Room and the original Last Exit in Tempe before disappearing into the ether in 2011. One of their more popular gigs was the annual Kinchmas celebration, which featured sets by the band and then-viable local acts like Dear and the Headlights and What Laura Says (remember them?). Last month, the members of Kinch announced both the band and its signature holiday event would return on Thursday, December 23, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, much to the surprise of their fans. The band, which recently released the new track “Sympathy,” will perform its first set in more than a decade at the show, which starts at 8 p.m. and will also feature locals Buddy Culture, Those Fabulous Lum Bros., and DJ Mitch Freedom. Admission is $15. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns are here to fill your lives with upbeat tunes. - COLD SHOTT AND THE HURRICANE HORNS
Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns are here to fill your lives with upbeat tunes.
Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns

Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns at Westside Blues & Jazz

Have you lost your soul? Is your step missing its rhythm? Could your swagger use an injection of funk? Phoenix natives Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns are more than happy to help put a little rhythm and blues in your life. The band doesn't have to sweat its authenticity or finesse: Founded by bassist Ted “Madman” Kowal, the combo has navigated the local and national R&B circuit since 1991. Starting as a three-piece blues band, they built on their sound with the addition of a three-piece horn section and a jumpin' rhythm section to round out their dynamic sound. A group like Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns has little concern with soul fads and focus more on entertaining crowds, playing great tunes, and having a blast while doing so. If you need proof, they’ll take the stage at Westside Blues & Jazz, 17045 North 59th Avenue in Glendale, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 23. Admission is $15. Anthony Sandoval
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.