Bandit65 | courtesy of the artist
Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in January
Jazz pickings in Philly are a bit light this January, but maybe that’s for the best. We all know what an exhausting year is coming, so catch some great music while you can – enjoy the distractions to ease into the year before electoral madness consumes us entirely. As if anticipating that hectic insanity, this month’s offerings tend toward the meditative and hypnotic, so drop in on a few of these and clear your brainspace. Happy New Year!
Hometown guitar hero Kurt Rosenwinkel closed out 2019 at Chris’ Jazz Café with a band of up-and-coming locals. Now he’s ringing in the New Year, kicking off Ars Nova Workshop’s 2020 on Jan. 6 at the Ruba Club with Bandit65, a band that doubles up on the Philly six-string wizardry. The exploratory trio pairs Rosenwinkel with local guitar conjurer Tim Motzer, propelled by drummer Gintas Janusonis into dizzying sonic headspaces. [INFO] Ars Nova’s second show of the month features drummer Allison Miller and her dynamic quintet Boom Tic Boom, which will present a new multimedia suite on Jan. 25 at Temple’s Caplan Center inspired by five American rivers (including the Delaware and Schuylkill) in which they’ll be joined by tap dancer Claudia Rahardjanoto. [INFO]
Pianist George Burton also came home to celebrate the holidays with his annual Yule Log concert at the Art Museum, but this month’s homecoming switches gears entirely. Following up on his acclaimed debut, The Truth of What I Am > The Narcissist, Burton will be premiering music from his upcoming release Reciprocity at Chris’ Jazz Café on Jan. 10. The project was inspired in part by his experiences on tour with legendary Sun Ra Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen. The show will feature a stellar band including saxophonists Tim Warfield and Chris Hemingway, vocalist Alexa Barchini and drummer Nazir Ebo. Come back on the 25th to catch guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, who has a fantastic new live album out with the quartet he’ll lead at Chris’. [INFO]
While @exuberancehas hosted a variety of ensembles from solo pianists to quartets and quintets, the listening space is perhaps most ideally suited for duos. There’s something about the intimacy and focus of the space that instigates conversations between artists in ways that other settings can’t match. The salon’s year begins with a pairing that will surely spark in that room: pianist Tamir Hendelman and trumpeter Sean Jones, who will perform their own compositions as well as meditations on the music of Miles Davis on Jan. 12. Here’s another venue worth a return later in the month, as pianist Dave Kikoski leads his trio on the 30th. [INFO]
You can make a lot of noise with a trumpet, a tuba and an arsenal of percussion. That’s not what Earth Tongues is about, however; the trio is more interested in crafting sonic environments with the entrancing intricacy and fragile beauty of a musical spiderweb. Their inquisitive explorations of space and fascination with texture have led trumpeter Joe Moffett, tuba player Dan Peck and percussionist Carlo Costa to cross the line into art installation on occasion, creating spaces that visitors can wander through for hours at a time. Concert performances, like this Fire Museum-presented one on Jan. 27 at Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement, are somewhat less immersive, though this setting promises some unique atmospheric elements that they’ll be sure to take advantage of. It’ll also be a lovely environment in which to take in local chamber-improv quintet Unseen Rain, who open. [INFO]