In the last few weeks, Rudolph has guided the drummer’s sleigh from Chicago to Cambridge, and there were tidings of comfort and joy after their recent romp at the Kitano, too. That’s because saxophonist Jeff Ballard is playing the baby bejesus out of tunes such as “Winter Wonderland” (complete with strip club accents) and “Mele Kalikimaki” (Hawaiian clarinet, anyone?). Wilson’s trademark whimsy guides all the action, but his fertile imagination is the real draw. From Albert Ayler to the Grinch, his new holiday CD makes music out of both angels and devils. They also play Cornelia St Cafe on Thursday.
Wed., Dec. 22, 8 p.m., 2010