The jazz scene is rich with singers and swingers in the next few weeks and goes from the famed to the obscure in clubs and concert halls.
LA ROSE JAZZ SUPPER CLUB, 5531 Germantown Ave. (215-248-1415) continues it joyous jazz with the marvelous Tony Williams Quartet every weekend and assorted guest stars sitting in. A recent session had Barbara Montgomery, that breathlessly attractive, singer getting the crowd going with everything from such standards as "I Fall In Love To Easily to a foot-stomping rendition of "Children Go Where I Send Thee and "Don't Touch Me . She is not just lovely, but a first class entertainer as well. Tony on alto sax; Don Wilson, piano; Dylan Taylor, bass and Joe Brown, drums, kept the tempo going just right. There are many better known sax men than Tony, but none quite so warmly regarded. The owner, Dr. Chenet LaRose, from Haiti, is always impeccably dressed and a master of welcoming. This new little club, is somewhat off the proverbial beaten track, but is fast making a name for itself.
CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, 1421 Sansom Street, (215-568-.3131) the club that recalls the glory days of famed Swing Street on April 7, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., for $10 has the very powerful tenor sax of Chris Far and the fine guitar work of Craig Ebner. On April 8, Larry McKenna, tenor sax extraordinary who plays so well it looks easier than it is with the bright new vocalist Meg Clifton who has a new CD out called You're A Sweetheart which describes her very well. She is backed on this by John Swana, trumpet; Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Lee Smith, bass; Dan Monaghan, drums and Peter Bernstein, piano; on such standards as I Wish You Love and God Bless The Child as well as the title track.
THE KIMMEL CENTER, Verizon Hall, Philly's classy competition to Carnegie Hall, April 21, 8 p.m., for $30 to $71, brings in the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All Star Band directed by Slide Hampton. Such top rated jazz stars as James Moody, Frank Wess, Randy Brecker, John Lee are just part of the group which will also include a presentation by Paquito D'Rivera, clarinet, whose latest Grammy was for Live At the Blue Note. This is, as is often the case these days with Kimmel, a bevy of top notch performers with world renowned reputations.
ZANZIBAR BLUE, Broad and Walnut Streets, (215-568-3131) April 7-8, 7:45&10 p.m., for $30, brings in London-born guitarist Ronny Jordan, sometimes call the "King of Acid Jazz and a major pioneer in contemporary jazz. Jordan is credited with being one of the originators of jazz guitar/break beat style and the fusion of jazz and hip-hop. His CD A Brighter Day was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2001 and his latest is After 8, which mixes in bits of cool with hip hop, reggae.
Drummer Steve Smith comes on board with the Sunday April 9 show at 7 and 9 p.m.. This club is clearly the most sophisticated dinner/jazz club operating today.
THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215-763-8100) Art After 5 Series $8-$12, on April 28 fuses modern art and modern jazz with the world premiere of an original composition inspired by the Museum's collection of Spanish surrealist Joan Miro with music by Grammy-nominated sax man David Liebman. This is part of the museum's Spring line-up of Friday concerts including a Cinco de Mayo celebration with Trio Crisol, Rolling Stones sideman Michael Davis on May 19, Robert Glasper on May 26 and Carl Hancock Rux on June 2.
ZELLERBACH THEATER, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, (215-893-1900) $$43-$21, April 9, 7:30 p.m., has Jazz at Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill for an evening of Latin jazz classics.
THE CINEMA, 3925 WALNUT STREET, April 20, 8 p.m., $15, has Tim Berne's Big Satan with Tim Berne, alto sax; Marc Ducret, guitar; Tom Rainey drums and Eskelin/Parkins/Black with Eller Eskelin, tenor sax; Andrea Parkins, keyboards/electronics and Jim Black, drums.
ORTLIEB'S JAZZ HAUS, 847 North Third Street, (215-952-1035) 8:30-1 p.m.,) continues its role as Philly's longest running jazz club with regular Wednesday showings of the magnificent Bootsie Barnes on tenor sax with an organ trio. Weekends feature various artists, sometimes even the owner, Pete Souders, is likely to join in on sax.
As noted above, the Philly jazz scene is rich and varied over the next few weeks.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.