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With the first snow falling, the Philadelphia jazz scene is heating up.
Kimmel Center brings in The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, performing performing Duke Ellington's famed Harlem Nutcracker. The second half of the program includes various top jazz selections by orchestra members, such as the nine-time Grammy Award winning Marsalis and sax man Ted Nash. Compositions from Count Basie to John Coltrane are included. This takes place Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. with tickets $71-$30.
The Dec. 9-10 weekend at Chris Jazz Cafe is filled with talent and includes presentation of the club's awards for its Hall of Fame 2005 recipients. Dec. 9 Bobby Watson, alto sax, will be with Philly guitar master Jimmy Bruno and his fine trio (also from Philadelphia) Lee Smith, bass and Dan Monaghan on drums. Award recipients on Dec. 10 are jazz/pop singer Mary Ellen Desmond; Daily News writer Al Hunter; bass man Lee Smith; and Bobby Watson. Desmond is an all-around vocalist who can go from pop to jazz with style. Smith is one of the finest bass players anywhere. Hunter helps keep jazz alive as one of the most active and knowledgeable columnists. Watson was musical director for Art Blakey, worked with various artists and is leader of the band Horizon.
Zanzibar Blue brings back the esteemed Philly piano prince, "Father John D'Amico whose sermons have delighted listeners for years. He currently heads up the dreamland sessions at the 23rd Street Cafe among other gigs. His trio Dec. 9 has Kenny Davis, bass; Greg McDonald, drums and Wendell Hobbs on sax. Dec.10 Bob Fanelli is on sax. Ella Csircsu is the vocalist. Hobbs is a long-time Philly jazz favorite.
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.