March 2006

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Philadelphia's jazz scene is getting as rich and varied as New York's famed 52nd Street back when it was still called Swing Street. Take note of just some of the many jazz venues over the next couple of weeks:

KIMMEL CENTER, Verizon Hall, Broad and Chestnut Streets, (215. 893.1999) gives a gospel/blues on March 11 at 8 p.m. lift with legendary Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal with tickets $33-$67. Mavis is, of course, a powerhouse soul singer and began singing with her family, the famed Staples Singers who were awarded the National Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award last year. She has worked with Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. Mahal, a self-taught, guitar and trombone playing mult-Grammy winner, has worked with everyone from Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton.

THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, 26TH & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215 763 8100), March 17, at 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m., showcases Adam Unsworth, the Philadelphia Orchestra French hornist with his studio jazz sextet that includes the vibrant vibes man, Tony Miceli. Unsworth also plays a set at Temple University's Rock Hall at 3 p.m. Tickets at the museum, $8-$12. Unsworth proudly proclaims his love of jazz after 10 years with the Detroit Symphony and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

ZANZIBAR BLUE, Broad and Walnut Streets, (215. 732.4500) March 10- 11,&;45& 10 p.m., for $40 has top tenor sax man, Gato Barbieri with bits of Latin jazz and pop fusion to Afro-Cuban. He covers the waterfront. He worked with Don Cherry among others and did the music for Last Tango in Paris. He has some 40 albums with Shadow< /I>, his most recent, getting the "Latin Album of the Year" award in 2003 from Billboard.

Pat Martino, Philly's nationally acclaimed guitarist, comes in on March 17 with songs from Remember-a Tribute to Wes Montgomery. Tickets are $35.

The matchless magic of Martino with the music of Montgomery should make for a memorable evening.

PAINTED BRIDE ART CENTER, 230 Vine St., (215. 925.9914) continues its "Jazz on Vine series with a March 11 performance at 7 and 9 p.m. by the esteemed Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band for tickets $15- $10. He will be playing trumpet along with his brother, Andy, his brother, on bass, doing selections from his new CD Rumba Buhaina. Gonzalez band covers Afro-Cuban jazz with overtones of just jazz for everyone. He has worked with such famed musicians as George Benson, McCoy Tyner, Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie. He has been hailed by various national media for his self-described intent as "not wanting to compromise the jazz playing." He said, "The cats in my band have to play the blues and clave." His new CD demonstrates that abundantly.

ORTLIEB'S JAZZ HAUS, The longest running jazz club in town, 847 N. Third St., (215.952.1035) offers The Chance Trio, March 13 at 8:30 p.m. Called an unusual and striking trio by the Philadelphia Inquirer, it features Bart Miltenberger on trumpet/flugelhorn; Matt Davis, acoustic guitar and the Rev. Michael Taylor on bass.

CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, 1421 Sansom St., (215.568.3131) March 10, 9 p.m.., $10, has the esteemed Chris Farr Quartet featuring Mike Kennedy. Farr continues to be one of the most exciting young tenor men working in this or any other town.

March 11 brings in Mike Dirurro/John Swana with the Tony Micelli Trio for $15 at 8&10 p.m. with Alexandra Day and her band at 11:30 p.m. March 17 brings back the all-time favorites of just about everyone, Larry McKenna and Bootsie Barnes. Their tenor sax exchanges always equal the excitement of the very best of Jazz at the Philharmonic sessions.

This continues to be one of the most exciting jazz clubs with major mainstay local and national talent. Joanna Pascale, one of the finest jazz singers working today was there with a dynamite group: McKenna, tenor sax; Gary Moran, piano; Lee Smith, bass; Dan Monaghan, drums. Pascale gives new life to old lyrics singing songs such "I'm going to sit right down and write myself a letter and "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me .

LE JARDIN, a new Friday night jazz spot giving staid Rittenhouse Square a bright new venue in its famed "secret garden." It's at the historic Art Alliance Building, 251 S. 18th St., (215.545.0821) on March 10, 8-11 p.m. with no cover will feature emerging pianist, Sean Higgins. He will offer selections from his new CD The First Thought. Serving French and Italian cuisine with a walled garden, it offers a bistro charm to the music.

LA ROSE Jazz Supper Club, 5531 Germantown Ave., (215.248.4415) continues its exciting weekend sessions with the esteemed Tony Williams and his sax featured quartet often inviting other main jazz artists aboard.

March 10 at 8 p.m. has Pieces of Pieces Un-plugged and looking into the future, March 25 brings in the lovely Barbara Montgomery who is something of a dream singer. She also has several church gigs in the suburbs over the next few weeks.


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