The joy of jazz will be spreading over the entire Philadelphia area during the next couple of weeks. Just two of the shows providing this emotional lift are a touching, gangbusters benefit concert at Radnor High School and some Kansas City jazz vocal stylings at Zanzibar Blue by Karrin Allyson.
RADNOR HIGH SCHOOL (Auditorium) 130 King of Prussia Road, off exit 13 on I-476 will feature its second annual "celebrity jazz concert" Saturday, May 3 at 8 p.m. for just $20 admission (215.266.9084). The musicians at this monster jazz bash represent many of the very finest jazz stars working in Philadelphia. They include the diverse vocal stylings of such top rated singers as Barbara Montgomery, Jeannie Brooks and Frank Bey. The all-star band has: John Blake, violin; Terrell Stafford, trumpet; Monette Sudler, guitar; Tony Williams, alto sax; Chris Farr, tenor sax; Marlon Simon, drums; Lee Smith, bass and Aaron Graves, piano. The 86-year-old jazz giant, drummer, George "Butch" Ballard, who played with Duke Ellington, will get a Lifetime Achievement Award from the high school band and music director, Daniel Drew. The event was co-chaired by Peter Cornish and drummer Leon Jordan. Proceeds benefit the school music program. Mr. Cornish’s son used to play in the school jazz band. Last year’s concert featuring Maynard Ferguson and Barbara Walker was sold out.
ZANZIBAR BLUE, Broad and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia (215.732.4500) next Friday and Saturday night will feature the smoky jazz vocalizing of Karrin Allyson. Admission for shows at 9 and 11 p.m. is $25. She covers ballads, blues and a bit of bop with the sure touch of a singer who doesn’t just sing the words, but gets into the meaning of them. Her most recent CD from Concord Records, In Blue, has been drawing rave reviews for her artful, Kansas City inflections where she covers the musical field from Evil Gal Blues to Angel Eyes. Her back up trio will include Danny Embrey, Todd Straight and Steve Varner. "I love the way the blues let you testify," Ms Varner says. She did it eloquently on her appearance here just last year.
THE PAINTED BRIDE ART CENTER, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia, (215.763.2819 or 215.242.3949) Sunday, april 27 at 5 p.m. for $35 at the door, $25-advance sale, is featuring what is called "Just Us," a"“double diva show" with jazz vocalists Pearl Williams and Ella Gahnt.They will be backed by Dr. Jay, piano; Gerald "Twig" Smith, guitar; Cliff Kellem, bass and Tony Deangelis, drums. Bob Perkins, the WRTI jazz voice is M.C..
THE KIMMEL CENTER (VERIZON HALL) Broad & Spruce St., Philadelphia (215.893.1900) showcases Peter Nero and the Philly Pops with the vocal ensemble, The Pops, April 25-27. They will cover swing and pop classics from Glenn Miller and The Dorsey Brothers to the Manhattan Transfer. Tickets are $19 to $80. Times are April 25 at 8 p.m., April 26 at 2 p.m. and April 27 at 3 p.m.