Jazz legends of varying styles are playing again in Philadelphia.
ZANZIBAR BLUE showcases two jazz and/or pop icons over the next two weeks. Melissa Manchester, pop icon of 70's, made a rare club appearance this weekend in a tour promoting her new CD, When I Look Down That Road, her first recording of new songs in more than 10 years. She has released some 25 albums, one of which was awarded a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocalist. She has been heard in the sound track of five major films including Out of Africa and Thief of Hearts. She dropped out of show business some 10 years ago to raise her family. She is a first class entertainer with great dramatic flair and the sold-out audience was clearly enchanted with her songs. I don't really think she is so much a jazz singer as a pop/rock,sometimes-jazz vocalist.
Oscar Brown, Jr. vocalist, playwright, composer, producer, radio personality will be at Zanzibar next weekend. Mr. Brown has been telling tales of love, racial and political protest as singer and playwright for half a century. Born and reared in Chicago, he made his first album in 1960. He has anchored the first African American nightly news program, made two tries for public office, written hundreds of songs, received two Emmy Awards and is the Host of PBS series From Jump Street: the Story of Black Music. He was composer of Big time Buck White, a Broadway show starring Muhammad Ali.
He acknowledged, in a Metro interview, "There's a lot I haven't done, but added, A film documentary made about me went out in February, and I've been playing gigs in various places. He proudly notes, "I discovered The Jackson 5 in 1968, and adds, think of all the people he (Michael) has brought joy to only to be pilloried.
He will be playing with a trio led by local star Aaron Graves on piano. He added, "I look forward to playing Philly and am hoping to put on a hell of a show.
Zanzibar Blue, Broad and Walnut Streets, 215.568.4500, 8&10 p.m., April 8-9, $45, Manchester; April 15-16, 8&10 p.m., $30, Brown.
ANNENBERG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS April 8 featured top trios led by guitarist John Scofield and pianist Brad Mehldau. Scofield has worked with Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Gerry Mulligan and Miles Davis, among others. Mehldau has worked with various top stars also and was a member of the Joshua Redman quartet. His most recent CD is Anything Goes, of which he says, "I'm very proud of this one. Scofield's latest is En Route.
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Zellerback Theater, 3680 Walnut Street, 215.898.3800, 8 p.m.,April 8, $46-$22, Scofield/Mehldau.
THE PHILADELPHIA CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY April 8 had world-famous jazz pianist McCoy Tyner with Charnett Moffett, bass and Erie Harland, drums.
The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Levitt Auditorium, Gershman Hall, Broad and Pine Streets, 215. 569. 8080 8 p.m., April 8, $21-$10, McCoy Tyner.