Jazz Plays 2nd Fiddle on the 4th of July

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Jazz, America’s truly indigenous art form, is playing something of a second fiddle in most the major celebrations here this July 4th. At Kimmel Center, however, the fiddle, by Mark O’ Connor, was worth the trip for anyone who cares about fiddle artistry. It was to be preceded by a free concert featuring some of the original jazz as played by the Superior Ragtime Orchestra but they cancelled out and the old stand-by, John Breslin, took over with his dixieland band.

THE KIMMEL CENTER (Perelman Center) started the weekend celebration Thursday with a free concert by the John Breslin Dixieland Band in Commonwealth Plaza followed by the return visit in the Perelman Center of Mark O’Connor, the most exciting jazz violinist since Stephane Grappelli, incidentally his mentor. O’Connor was working with his Appalachia Waltz Trio featuring cellist Natalie Haas and violist Carol Cook, both excellent. The selections went from folk to celtic, pop and almost no jazz at all Jazz-folk violinist O’Connor’s CDs and personal appearances have been winning rave reviews worldwide. His last appearance at the Kimmel in February was sold out.

CHRIS’ JAZZ CAFE spotlights the Mark Kramer Trio on July 5. Kramer continues to demonstrate just how exciting a jazz piano can be whether dealing with pop or bop. The following Friday and Saturday, marks the return of Mary Ellen Desmond and Meg Clifton, two of the finest vocalists working with jazz and pop standards today. They will be celebrating their recent CD tribute to Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney backed up by the all-star group from that recording. That stellar group includes Mark Kramer, piano; Larry McKenna, tenor sax; John Swana, trumpet; David Brodie, bass and Jim Shade, drums. McKenna and Swana are Philly jazz mainstays with Larry going from subtle ballad phrasing to earthy and booming tenor on jump numbers. Swana, a stunningly original horn man has come to dominate the trumpet scene in this town. Desmond and Clifton are also scheduled to appear at the Rosemary Clooney Festival in Louisville, Kentucky on September 20 along with Linda Ronstadt and her band.

JAZZ AT THE FIREHOUSE FARMERS MARKET, July 4, featured local vocalist Denise King, in the free Summer Friday concert series she started herself three years ago. Ms King is a sultry, sometimes swinging, but still sophisticated jazz-pop vocalist who has produced and recorded three CDs including one featuring her work in Japan. This lady has helped keep jazz alive with her free concerts and her singing that is always a treasure.

Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, (215.893.1999) Superior Ragtime Orchestra, , July 3, Commonwealth Plaza, 5 P.M. FREE and Mark O’Connor Appalachia Waltz Trio, $42 , with limited number of $10 tickets on day of performance, 7:30 p.m., Perelman Center

Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., (2125.568.3131) Mark Kramer Trio, July 5, 9 p.m-1.a.m., $8 & July ll and 12, same times, $10.

Jazz at the Farmers Market, 50th Street and Baltimore Ave., Denise King, July 4, 6 P.M., FREE.

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