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Spring will have a little swing (and some bop and blues) in the Philadelphia area jazz scene this April. Long term favorites such as alto sax man-leader Tony Williams and guitarist-singer Jimi Odell will be among the local featured players creating the seasonal music magic. SEDGWICK CULTURAL CENTER, 7137 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia (215.248.9229) provides a joyous opening day session, for its Blue Monday Jazz Series with the esteemed Tony Williams Quartet. Sets go from 6-9 p.m. for a $6 cover. Williams has been keeping the Philadelphia jazz fires going for years now going from the famed Blue Note to the posh Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. His top notch group includes such pitch perfect players as Don Wilson, piano; Mike Boone, bass and Leon Jordan on drums. Later they will be continuing their tradition of honoring local musicians and jazz advocates who help keep the music alive in the Philadelphia area. April 21 will honor Wesley Norton and April 28, the mainstay drummer at Ortlieb's Jazz Haus, Mickey Roker.
CAFE CLASSICS, 816 N. Easton Road, Doylestown (215.489.3535) was serving up vocal stylings by the beautiful blonde ballad and blues singer Barbara Montgomery April 4. She has uncanny audience appeal and is equally at home with up-tempo jazz and soulful ballads. Bob Perkins, the mellifluous voiced DJ at WRTI is master of ceremonies. Sets go from 6 to 8 p.m. with a complete dinner and show for $45 or $20 for just listening.
Jimi Odell, the sweet singing jazz guitarist will be here leading his own group that is featured on his spanking new CD ( At The Half Century Mark ) on May 4th. They will be sure to play some of the sure fire standards from the record such as Sophisticated Lady and Body and Soul. One of the numbers gives a wry sketch of Jimi's background, Out of Nowhere which he subtitled from Nowhere Virginia to Nowhere Pa. He will also be at the Cape May Jazz Festival Saturday and Sunday jam sessions listed below.
CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, 1421 Sansom St., Philadelphia (215.568.3131) April 4 and 5 had the return engagement of the exciting tenor sax man Eric Alexander and the trumpet virtuoso John Swana with their all star Quintet featuring Craig Ebner, guitar; Lucas Brown, organ and Dan Monaghan on drums. Next week brings in house regular and guitar master Jimmy Bruno along with the always swinging Mark Kramer Quartet.
ORTLIEB'S JAZZ HAUS, 847 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia (215.922.1035) April 4 and 5 had the exciting young tenor sax man Chris Farr with Joe Magnarelli on trumpet and the seasoned swinging stylings of the Sid Simmons Quartet. Sets are from 8:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. for just $5. CAPE MAY JAZZ FESTIVAL, N.J. this weekend had an all-star line up of proverbial living legends of jazz such as Clark Terry, James Moody, Oscar Brown, Dianne Reeves and Jimmy McGriff. Contact 609.884.7277 for price and performance details.
Jazz is a creative explosion of individual freedom and communication.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was a kid. My father had a music store.
The best live performance I ever attended was Kenny Garrett in Harlem, New York.
The first jazz record I bought was Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins.
My advice to new listeners is keep listening!