For Philadelphia jazz fans, Christmas is already here with shows covering everything from Latin Jazz to Gospel & the Blues with a special holiday show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as its last Friday night jazz presentation of the year.
THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART's final Friday jazz presentation of 2004 on Jan.17 features the stunning, sophisticated, sometimes soulful singing of Philadelphia's own, Joanna Pascale. She will be with such top jazz musicians as Larry McKenna, tenor sax; Mickey Roker, drums; Skip Williams, piano and Madison Rast, bass.
A graduate of Temple, Ms Pascale, just 24, has a new self-produced, compelling CD, When Lights Are Low getting national radio coverage and scheduled for January release by a major label in January. She told Metro she would sing some holiday songs such as "Count Your Blessings," "Santa Baby" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." "These are songs with warm memories of the holidays," she said. She works at top jazz clubs in town, but would love to travel and play more concert dates. She looks forward to working the Art Museum again. She said, "It is a great venue and people are very responsive and there to listen. It's a great opportunity to perform for people who really want to receive what you have as opposed to people too busy eating and drinking to notice."
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th and the Parkway, 215.764.8100, Friday, Dec. 17, 5:45 & 7:15 p.m. shows,, $10 & $7.
ZANZIBAR BLUE starts the holidays tonight on with "A Tribute to Miles Davis" featuring the Nicholas Payton New Quintet. Payton, a New Orleans trumpet man compared to Louis Armstrong in tone and technique.
Next weekend, there's "A Tribute to Nat 'King' Cole" by The famed Monty Alexander Trio. featuring Freddie Cole, Nat's younger singing brother. Jamaican born pianist Alexander worked with such stars as Sinatra and Gillespie and has some 60 jazz to rap albums . Freddie has been at Zanzibar several times, always, a star singer.
CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE next weekend has top jazz stars, Eric Alexander, tenor sax; John Swana, trumpet;and the Sid Simmons Trio with Simmons, piano; Dan Monaghan, drums and Lee Smith, bass. Saturday includes Chris' second annual Hall of Fame Awards going to Pat Martino, guitar; Alexander, Simmons and Donald Van Deusen, jazz writer.
Chris Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, 215.568.3131, Dec. 17&18, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., $12 Dec. 17 and $15 Dec. 18.
KIMMEL CENTER took jazz to Brazil Dec. 10 with Rio-born top trumpet man, Claudio Rodilti mixing Brazilian rhythms with a bit of hard bop as part of the "Take the Col'train" series. Roditi gained stardom in Brazil, named a finalist in the International Jazz Competition and going to America to study at Berklee.
Kimmel Center,Broad and Spruce Streets, 215.893.1999, 8 p.m., Dec.10, $35-$40.
TRITONE, brought Skip Heller, Philly-bred guitarist, whose Hyena Records CD Fakebook, has gained national recognition, in for a live recording session with John Kennedy, drums and Lucas Brown, bass. Tritone, 1508 South Street, 215.545.0475, 8 p.m.,Dec. 12, $ 8.
WORLD CAFE LIVE, the newest night spot in town, brings in The Brooklyn Sax Quartet and the Chance Trio Dec. 19. Both groups have been garnerning praise from various jazz media. The Trio has Bert Miltenberger, trumpet-flugelhorn; Matt Davis, acoustic guitar and Michael Taylor, acoustic bass. Miltenberger is UK-born with working with top jazz men internationally. Davis is a local gem in this guitar-focused town who has played with everyone from Odeon Pope to Terrell Stafford. He has his own group, covered here previously, Aerial Photograph. Taylor is another Philadelphian and works regularly with Chance and Davis.
ANNENBERG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is bringing, Take 6, a gospel/blues group to its Zellberbach Theatre for a Christmas concert. The legendary blues group started just 16 years ago has garnered multiple awards and critical hurrahs. They probably won't be singing "it's Chrstmas time baby and I want to see Santa Claus," but it should be fun.
Zellerbach Theatre of the Annenberger Center, 3680 Walnut St., 215.898.1900, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., $49-$22.