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Philadelphia is filled with gigs to be thankful for in the Thanksgiving holiday season.
CHRIS' JAZZ CAFE, at 1421 Sansom St. (215.568.3131) is bringing in Philadelphia guitar legend Pat Martino for what has become his annual return to Philadelphia on Nov. 25-26. He is considered one of the finest jazz guitarist in the world today. He will be playing with his quartet featuring Rick Germans, piano; Steve Varner, bass and Scott Robinson, drums. Among his classic recordings are Joyous Lake and El Hombre. Admission is $25 per set and times are 8pm-10pm.
The weekend before this set has pianist George Colligan and his quartet featuring trumpet star Nicholas Payton for two sets at $20 each.
ZANZIBAR BLUE, at Walnut and Broad Street (215.732.4500) has another Philly jazz giant with B3 organist Joey DeFrancesco coming in on Nov. 25-26 with a $30 cover charge for sets at 8-10 p.m. The son of another Philly organ master, "Papa John DeFrancesco, Joey has been playing since he was 10, with a debut recording at 17 and his most recent release being Legacy, along with organ master Jimmy Smith, now deceased. Smith was widely considered the world's finest and with his passing, Joey is clearly king.
On Dec. 2-3, at 8&10 p.m., Zanzibar welcomes back Oleta Adams a much favored jazz vocalist with overtones of gospel singing background. The admission will be $40 for this much acclaimed singer.
THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART AT 26TH AND THE PARKWAY (215.763.8100) expands its exciting Friday night jazz sessions on Dec. 2 with the world premier of an original jazz composition by pianist Stanley Cowell. His 30-minute musical work reflects his appreciation of the museum art collections and is the first of two commissioned jazz compositions funded by the Philadelphia Music Project. The second original piece will be by Grammy-nominated sax man David Liebman in April 2006. Both compositions will explore the relationship between music and the visual arts.
THE KIMMEL CENTER, Broad and Spruce Streets (215.893.1999) had the Philly All Stars Jazz Session on Friday Nov. 18 and Orrin Evans with Elis Marsalis on Nov. 19 as well as jazz vocalist Jane Moneheit coming in on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for $54-$46 admission.The All Star Session was just what it was namedall stars.Odeon Pope and his sax choir with Ravi Coltrane on sax was an explosively exciting set. There were also some sweet remembrances of such local greats now deceased as Eddie Green and with a few great bass solos by Tyrone Brown, both reminding a few of us of the marvelous Monday sessions at the Blue Note out on Limekiln Pike with Tony Williams. Christian McBride noted that first set was so good it made his perormance almost mild in comparison.
ORTLIEB'S JAZZ HAUS, 847 N. 3RD ST. (215.922.1035) Nov. 18 had Clifford Adams on trombone with the Mickey Roker Quartet and is closed for Thanksgiving.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.