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Jazz Heats Up Philly Winter

AAJ Staff By

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The jazz clubs in the Philadelphia area have been producing some incendiary sounds to heat up the winter-weather weary residents.

CAFE CLASSICS, 816 Easton Road, Doylestown (215.489.5071) had the H. Factor (which stands for Robert. H. Henderson) band featuring the towering tenor sax of Larry McKenna for Feb. 23 at 6 and 8:30 p. m. Henderson, a Philadelphia-born drummer-band leader, has worked at various major European jazz venues and with such major jazz figures as Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke and Big Sid Catlett. As he explains it, "I just want to swing." And that is precisely what he does with his newest CD RH Positive from Philly Breakdown Records. The CD has the same group working with him at the club, such top stars as Tom Lawton, and Paul Pelusi, piano; Pete Colangelo, bass along with Henderson and McKenna. As local jazz DJ Bob Perkins, notes,"The work is positively RH POSITIVE." Henderson is sure to be playing a few of the swinging standards on this recording Sunday—such time-tested tunes as: Star Dust, What;s New and Moonlight in Vermont.

CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, 1421 Sansom St., Philadelphia (215.568.3131) continues its power-packed performances with the next two week’s offerings. Bootsie Barnes, tenor sax along with John Swana, trumpet and Ryan Kisor, also on trumpet were featured Feb. 21 in shows going from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a $10 cover charge. Monday night spotlighted the big band of Lars Halle featuring various top local stars. Lou Lanza, one of the most adroit male jazz singers working regularly in this town came in on Thursday night.He was followed Feb. 28 by Meg Clifton, the delightful jazz vocalist who dazzled listeners with her swinging and sultry songs. She was supported by local jazz icons Larry Mc Kenna, tenor sax and John Swana on trumpet for just $8.The combination of McKenna, Swana and Clifton along with the support of guitar guy Pete Smyser was something to bring you home—if your home happens to be New York's 52nd Street during the glory years of jazz. And, if you happen to stop by on Tuesday to Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., Ted Gerike, Philadelphia’s prime piano man, who delighted clubgoers at the Society Hill Hotel for some 22 years, is now sitting in here. He combines sure show business savvy with an encyclopedic playback of any songs that customers might try to stump him on.

THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, 26th Street and the Parkway, 21.5.763.8100 had its usual Friday night jazz art, Feb. 21 with the Janet Barron Trio. She is a song stylist who, they say, artfully recaptures the excitement of Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. This charming songstress will be going from ballads to blues in the Great Stair Hall where you can get cafe-style appetizers and fine wines in what is called the Cafe Degas. The show goes from 5:30 to 8 p.m. along with tours of 20th and 19th century art. If you get there earlier, you can view the marvelous new art exhibit covering Degas and the Dance. Admission is $10 and $7.


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