The Philly Jazz scene this past week exploded with great sounds of diverse groups, most notably with the following: Zanzibar Blue had Steve Smith considered by many to be the world's greatest drummer. His work at the Zanzibar Sunday session was phenomenal and the group with him, particularly his guitarist, were all first class.
Chris' Jazz Cafe had a session Saturday that brought back the joyous jazz sounds that used to permeate New York's famed 52nd Street. Larry McKenna, tenor sax man for the ages backed up the young jazz singer, Meg Clifton, doing great old standards in style. Joining Larry was a the matchless rhythm section of Matt Mitchell, piano; Lee Smith, bass and Dan Monaghan, drums. Coming up are:
KIMMEL CENTER, Broad and Chestnut Streets, (215-893-1999) has the most prestigious jazz group working anywhere with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Band directed by Slide Hampton. This group features such diverse top talent as Paquito D'Rivera, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess and many others for a night filled with the glorious sounds of jazz at its very best. The gangbuster show starts Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m. for tickets running $30-70.
ZANZIBAR BLUE, Broad and Walnut Streets, (215-732-4500) brought back the Grammy nominated singer, Karrin Allyson for two nights, Friday and Saturday, April 14/15. Allyson started singing in her uncle's Kansas City jazz club after studying classical piano in college. Playboy called her 1992 debut "stunning." Her CD In Blue was called "superb" by Newsweek.
CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, 1421 Sansom Street, (215-568-3131) Friday, April 21, 9PM-1AM, for $12 has THE VANGUARD JAZZ ORCHESTRA with Ralph Lalama, tenor sax and the trumpet man John Swana's Organ Trio. Lalama is from West Aliquipppa, PA and was discovered by Thad Jones where he worked with Woody Herman and Buddy Rich among others. He has supported singers Mel Torme and Carmen McRae. He also works with the Vanguard Orchestra and with the Joe Lavano Nonet. Swana's trio includes Lucas Brown on organ and Dough Hirlinger on drums.
Saturday, April 29 brings in Julie Hardy and her quintet featuring Jaleel Shaw on sax. Hardy is from New Hampshired, studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and has a Masters in Jazz Performance. Rounding out her group will be Randy Ingram, piano and Matt Clohesy, bass, Ted Poor, drums. Hardy has won various tributes from jazz critics.
Hours and prices are as with the April 21 show.
THE CINEMA, 3925 Walnut Street, has Tim Berne's Big Satan, April 20, 8 PM, for $15 sponsored by Ars Nova Workshop.
THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA Rose Recital Hall, room 419, at 34th and Walnut Streets, (215-805-3376) for $15, Friday, May 5, 8 PM, has the Sonny Fortune/Rashied Ali Duo. Fortune is on clarinet, flute, tenor and soprano sax with Ali on drums.
PAINTED BRIDE ART CENTER, 230 Vine Street, (215-925-19106) on May 6, at 7PM for $25 has pianist, Shoko Nagai and a quintet, Utakata. Nagai, a native of Nagoya, Japan, is noted for her post bop, free jazz stylings.
LA ROSE JAZZ SUPPER CLUB, 5531 Germantown Avenue, (215-248-4415) the quaint, new jazz joint in Philly, has some interesting upcoming shows for all tastes. Friday, April 28, at 8 PM brings in Fareed Baron Trio with Brent White on trombone as a guest. Saturday, one of Philly's finest jazz/pop vocalists, Joanna Pascale will be there with Mickey Roker. The admission price is just a two-drink minimum.
ST. GABRIEL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 101 East Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA., 19120, on Sunday, April 30 features a jazz vespers with the smoky-voiced, breathtakingly lovely, Barbara Montgomery and her quartet featuring Dennis Fortune, piano; Lee Smith, bass; Lee-sa Robinson, drums. It's a performance celebrating Easter and the mission and ministry of the church.