Philadelphia jazz over the past two weeks featured awards to its finest local stars, most exciting new stars and an appropriate birthday party for Jimmy Bruno on his 50th birthday. And that was just part of the jazz picture here.
CHRIS’ JAZZ CAFE honored local jazz guitar giant Jimmy Bruno in a 50th birthday celebration tJuly 19 with an all-star back-up group that included Sid Simmons, piano; John Swana, trumpet; Jeff Pedros, bass and Dan Monaghan on drums. Jimmy will be there tonight with the very fine tenor of Chris Farr. Bruno has kept the Philly jazz guitar tradition (that goes back to pioneer Eddie Lang) alive. Jimmy’s solos were pure artistry and just another demonstration of how good a guitar can sound when its treated right. Tributes to local jazz greats were served here July 26 with both the 2003 Newcomer/Gerber Awards and Chris’ own Hall of Fame presentations. The Newcomer awards will be to Brian Woesterhoff, sax; Jeff Pedraz, bass; George Burton, piano and Dan Monaghan, one of the finest young drummers working these days. This event was hosted by local sax mainstay Bootsie Barnes. Chris’ Hall of Fame Awards went to tenor sax titans Barnes and Larry McKenna, trumpet master John Swana, Bruno and Monaghan. These guys can make every jazz session as exciting as the best of the now-famous JATP concerts of the 1940-50 era. McKenna and Barnes are nothing less than local living legends.
PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART Friday night jazz sessions are perking right along with the appearance July 18 of major alto sax man Frank Morgan. He was backed by Bob Butta, piano, Ronnie Burrage, drums and the masterful Lee Smith on bass. Morgan is mainstay in jazz history having worked with such jazz stars as Wardell Grey, Conti Condoli and jazz giant Charlie Parker who took an interest in him when he was just a child. Next Friday (July 25) brings in Howard Alden on guitar and Ken Peplowski on clarinet and sax. Both have been hailed for their distinctive jazz stylings.
ORTLIEB’S JAZZ HAUS, the oldest continuously running jazz club in town, was showcasing Stan Wilson on tenor sax July 18 and the Mickey Roker quartet. July 25 had Jimmy Oliver, one of the other mainstay tenor sax stars here working with Roker’s group.
SHOW DATES & TIMES
Chris’ Jazz Haus, 1421 Sansom St., Philadelphia, 215.568.3131, July 18-Bruno, $8, July 19-Bruno Birthday-$10 and July 26-Awards-$8.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Parkway, 215.763.8100.today, 5:30-8 p.m.-Frank Morgan, next week-Alden,both $10.
Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus, 847 N. 3rd St., 215.922.1035, tonight-Wilson, next Friday, Roker, $7, for both8:45 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.