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The Philadelphia jazz servings at various locations over the next two weeks are as varied as a smorgasbord; something for every taste.
ZANZIBAR BLUE, the premier jazz dining club in town brought in Lizz Wright, a young, highly touted, soul-influenced jazz vocalist tonight and tomorrow night (Aug. 15-16). The 23-year-old vocalist also has a new CD out called “Salt” with several standards (such as “Goodbye”) and her own compositions (such as the title tune) that various critics have given high marks to. If this young lady is a soul singer, what she does is a long way from Sister Rosetta Tharpe or even Dinah Washington. Her singing, at least on this initial recording, is really far more into a cool school jazz vocalizing popular with many of the newer jazz singers. Critics from L.A. to Philadelphia, however, have pretty much showered her with praise. Catching her performance at Zanzibar it was apparent that she does indeed have a powerful, gospel inflected voice and a great deal of style. Her CD, by this listeners standards, don’t do her justice. I still might quarel that she does too many of her own and minor numbers. In fact, she may do too many numbers period singing almost continuously for a two hour set. I have heard many singers say thats a good way to lose your voice. She is still a powerhouse singer and except for this minor carping, a delight to hear.
CHRIS’ JAZZ CAFE is offering up another youthful voice next week, guitarist-composer Jonathan Kreisberg and his quartet featuring: Aaron Goldberg, piano; Matt Penman, bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. Kreisberg also mixes up the standards with his own compositions and he has a new CD out called Trioing. He has worked such major jazz venues as the Blue Note and Smalls in New York City with such leading jazz publications as All About Jazz and Jazziz heaping praise upon him. A reviewer for the Richmond Times Dispatch wrote: “Kreisberg has the ability to adopt any voice on the guitar. He is a student of the jazz masters...and it is wonderful.” This Friday, Aug. 15 brought back the delightful Meg Clifton, a singer who keeps reminding us how great the standards are. She was backed superbly by John Swana, Dan Monaghan and Craig Ebner with Meg and Swana doing a beautifully playful bop bit that suggested some of the work of Jackie Cain and Roy Kral when they were with Charlie Ventura.
THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, easily the most majestic facility for a night of jazz one can find anywhere in the world, is going strong with its Friday night sessions Aug. 15 featuring. the Steve Turre Quartet in what it calls a Mellon Jazz Friday Evening. Turre is a trombonist who the museum notes has consistently won both the Readers and Critics polls in Jazz Times, Down Beat and Jazziz for best trombone and for miscellaneous instrumentsseashells. He has been a member of the Saturday Night Live band since 1984 and has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, to name a few. The show was hosted by the mellifluous voice of perhaps the main local jazz DJ Bob Perkins.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.