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Jazz Presents Under Philly Tree

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A sparkling collection of Christmas presents for various jazz tastes was provided for two weeks in the Philadelphia area from December 12th on. The collection includes such major national stars as Kenny Barron, Diane Shuur and Terrell Stafford along with such local giants as Tony Williams, Jimmy Bruno and Bootsie Barnes.

KIMMEL CENTER (Perelman Theater) continued the Mellon Jazz “Dreaming of Dizzy” series December 13th with top flight pianist-composer Kenny Barron. He was working with all star support of sax-clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and trumpet player Claudio Roditi. Both of these guys added a delightful touch of talent and even humor to the evening, particularly from D’Rivera. There was also a surprise talk session with all the musicians joined by Danilo Perez and Mervon Mehta (V. P.—Programming and Education) who conceived the series. This turned into a very warm, audience-engaging discussion of where each of them came upon bop and more touchingly, the guidance of one of its leading exponents, Dizzy. Barron, a native Philadelphian, worked with Gillespie, Philly Joe Jones, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Buddy Rich and Freddie Hubbard among others. His piano work has been hailed by critics nationwide. Both D’Rivera and Roditi are major league Latin American jazz men.

CHRIS’ JAZZ CAFE had the always exciting Jimmy Bruno on guitar with the Chris Farr Trio Dec. 13 and with his own trio joined by the very fine piano man Mark Kramer the following night. Farr is a first class tenor man and Kramer always adds a touch of show business flair to a solid jazz piano playing. A Christmas show on December 20th features the powerful tenor sax of Bootsie Barnes and Sam Reed with guest singer Michal Beckham and the very fine Sid Simmons Trio. The last time Bootsie and Reed got together at Chris they blew the proverbial roof off with exciting sax exchanges that haven’t been heard since the glory days of JATP, which we keep referring to because they were so exciting.

ZANZIBAR BLUE brought back that fine, two-time, Grammy-award-winning vocalist, Diane Schuur , while these other sessions were going on. She can and does sing blues, jazz, pop standards and ballads with a style that brings audiences to their feet applauding. The following night had Nnenna Freelon, a singer being compared with Sarah Vaughan for her stylish,sometimes swinging singing.

ORTLIEB'S JAZZ HAUS was offering the lovely lyrical renderings of a local jazz singer, Joanne Pascal, along with the Mickey Roker Quartet Dec. 12. This young lady has been deservedly taking front and center of various jazz locales over the past couple of years. Next Saturday, the top notch, nationally acclaimed stars, tenor sax man Tim Warfield and trumpet man Terrell Stafford supported by the Roker Quartet.

THE SEDGWICK CULTURAL CENTER is bringing back one of the great Monday night jazz events in Philadelphia, Blue Mondays with the Tony Williams quartet. Williams sax stylings and his groups that have worked for nearly half a century in Philadelphia are one of the true Philadlphia jazz treasures. His Monday night gatherings at the old Blue Note on Limekiln Pike are still remembered fondly by jazz lovers all over town. These sessions had residents from all over town trucking out to west Philly much as an earlier generation use to take the A-train to Harlem for the exciting jazz at the Apollo theater and Minton's Playhouse. His quartet includes: Don Wilson, piano; Mike Boone, bass; Leon Jordan, drums and Williams on alto sax. they don’t come any better than that.

Dates & Times

  • Kimmel Center (Perelman Theater), Broad and Spruce Streets, 215.893.1999, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., $33-$38, Kenny Barron Trio

  • Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 215.568.3131, Dec. 12-13, 9 p.m.—1 a.m., $8, Jimmy Bruno; Dec. 20, same time-prices, Bootise Barnes.

  • Zanzibar Blue, Broad and Chestnut Streets, 215.732.4500, Dec. 12, 8-10 p.m., $35, Diane Schuur, Dec. 13, 8-10 p.m., $35, Nnenna Freelon.

  • Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus, 847. N. Third St., 215.952.1035, Dec. 13, 8:45 p.m-1:30 a.m., $8, Joanne Pascal; Dec. 20, same time and prices, Warfield and Stafford.

  • The Sedgwick Cultural Center, 7137 Germantown Ave., 215.248.9229, Every Monday, 6-9 p.m., $8, Tony Williams Quartet.

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