Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in October
Though it doesn’t have the reputation of landmark rock festivals like Woodstock or Monterey Pop, the October Revolution in Jazz was at least as monumental for the free jazz scene. Organized by trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon in 1964, the four-day event was the first of its kind and included pioneering figures in the music like Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Steve Lacy and Andrew Hill.
A little more than a half-century later, Ars Nova Workshop is commemorating that watershed event with the most ambitious event in its own history, a long weekend’s worth of music with a stunning line-up that rivals the original’s. From October 5-8, mostly at FringeArts, more than a dozen performers representing the leading edge of avant-garde music will appear at the October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music. Included on the program will be pianist Burton Greene, who was there in ’64; the Sun Ra Arkestra performing the iconic Space is the Place in its entirety; legendary artists like Anthony Braxton and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, whose careers span the half-century between the two events; and modern innovators like Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Moor Mother, and Mike Reed’s Flesh & Bone; and new music ensembles including So Percussion and Orchestra 2001. It’s easily the jazz event of the season. [TIX / INFO]
It’s not, however, the only. The very same night the fest opens, in fact, Matt Yaple will host the most legendary name to yet appear at his @exuberance house concert series: 82-year-old Tootie Heath, the baby of the Philly-born Heath Brothers, will make a homecoming appearance with a trio that’s otherwise a few generations young. Pianist Emmet Cohen has recently played in town with another favorite son, bassist Christian McBride, and is a rising star on the instrument, making a habit of seeking out old-school apprenticeships with elders like Heath, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb. His frequent rhythm section partner, bassist Russell Hall, has played with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Harold Mabern – none of whom suffer the non-swinging very long. [TIX / INFO]
Speaking of Christian McBride, the ever-busy bass giant will return to South on Oct. 27 to pay homage to his own mentor, the late Ray Brown. He’ll be joined by an old friend, pianist Benny Green, who earned his own stripes accompanying the legendary Brown; along with the prolific drummer Lewis Nash. It should be a special evening, showcasing three musicians at the height of their powers who have fully imbibed and personalized the lessons of the tradition. [TIX / INFO]
For those who prefer to get up and move with the challenge of the envelope-pushing to get in the way, Trombone Shorty will bring his New Orleans-meets-hip hop sound to The Fillmore on October 10. Otherwise known as Troy Andrews, part of one of the Crescent City’s most prolific musical families, Shorty has long bridged the worlds of Second Line parades and arena rock, having joined Lenny Kravitz’ band fresh out of high school and more recently opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour. His most recent album, Parking Lot Symphony, finds him on Blue Note, though its sound is no less eclectic for landing on the legendary jazz label. [TIX / INFO]
Speaking of genre-blending, TJP – formerly known as The Jost Project – was founded on the idea of twisting classic rock hits into jazz shapes. The Philly-based band, which brings together vibraphonist Tony Miceli, vocalist Paul Jost and bassist Kevin MacConnell, will celebrate their debut album on October 20 at Chris’ Jazz Café. Fully embracing the repertoire’s hippie ethos with the title Peace and Love, the album also features drummer Doug Hirlinger and guest saxophonist Joel Frahm. [TIX / INFO]