Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in November - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Theo Croker | via

Not to rub it in, but by the time you read this, I’ll be fleeing the encroaching Philly winter and enjoying the Caribbean sun and sand at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.  Ok, so there’s really no other reason to mention that other than to rub it in, but it seems that the rest of the Philly jazz scene this month is also looking to warmer climes for inspiration.

Take this week’s First Friday show at the Barnes Foundation. Veteran drummer Eliot Zigmund, a longtime session mainstay and first-call sideman for more than 40 years, will join a trio of local favorites – vibraphonist Tony Miceli, bassist Mike Boone, and pianist Jim Ridl – to pay homage to the Cool Jazz sound associated with the 1950s West Coast scene – although of the two bands they’ll honor, one was based around a pair of Midwesterners, the other formed by classically-inspired New Yorkers. The quartet will pay homage to two landmark groups of the time: the Mastersounds, founded by Buddy and Monk Montgomery (brothers of guitar legend Wes Montgomery), and the Modern Jazz Quartet, whose elegant sound stemmed from a classical music influence. [TIX / INFO]

The bossa nova craze was in full swing when Frank Sinatra entered the studio with bossa pioneer Antônio Carlos Jobim in early 1967 to record the now-classic Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim. 50 years later, guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli decided to pay homage with his own take on the material, maintaining the original’s no-nonsense approach to album titling with his latest, Sinatra & Jobim @ 50. Though he duets with the Brazilian icon’s grandson, Daniel Jobim, on the album, Pizzarelli himself embodies the qualities of both men – Sinatra’s impeccable swing and Jobim’s breezy romanticism. He’ll bring both to Chris’ Jazz Café this weekend, Nov. 3-4. [TIX / INFO]

Chris’ will also be hosting a fundraiser for the DR’s hurricane-ravaged Caribbean neighbor, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 9. Hosted by Mike Garcia, the event will feature percussionist Pablo Batista, the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, as well as saxophonist Victor North, drummer Webb Thomas with his organ trio and pianist James Santangelo, among others. [TIX / INFO]

The Sinatra/Jobim collab lost the Grammy to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Philly’s own bossa masters, Minas, are out to prove there are no hard feelings. On Nov. 11 at World Café Live, the band will present an evening of Beatles classics with a Brazilian twist. Growing up in Brazil, co-founder Orlando Haddad learned English from singing Beatles songs, while his future wife and collaborator, Patricia King, spent her childhood in the States picking up Portuguese from Sergio Mendes records. So this show – which promises a samba version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Within You, Without You” with a berimbau drone, just as an example of what to expect – seems like a natural fit for the couple and their sextet. [TIX / INFO]

Speaking of collaborations, the one shared by trumpeter and Terell Stafford and pianist Bruce Barth has been particularly beneficial to the Philly jazz scene. Not just because of the music they’ve made together, which has yielded a number of scintillating records under both men’s names for more than a decade and a half, but through their work at Temple University, where Stafford directs the music program and Barth teaches. Matt Yaple’s intimate listening room @exuberance is the perfect environment in which to catch a rare duo performance by the pair. Shoot Matt a message to get a welcome to the invite-only performance on Nov. 15. [TIX / INFO]

On record, trumpeter Theo Croker has been experimenting with electronics and post-production to a transformative degree, but he’s just as scintillating live without the futuristic flair – maybe even moreso. Croker’s set was a highlight of this summer’s Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, so seeing him in the more contained setting of South Kitchen & Jazz Parlor should be a treat. He’ll spend the weekend there on Nov. 17-18. [TIX / INFO]

And finally, the much-heralded Los Angeles scene will be represented by its most notable proponent, sax phenom Kamasi Washington. The “West Coast Get Down” co-founder seized headlines with his sprawling, audacious three-disc debut The Epic, but he’s followed it up with a pared-down EP, Harmony of Difference, which maintains more of a focus on Washington’s soul-jazz influences. Ars Nova Workshop will be presenting the saxophonist on Nov. 25 at Union Transfer. [TIX / INFO]

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