Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in February - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Even if you’re the type who scoffs at heart-shaped chocolate boxes and bouquets of roses, or rolls their eyes at the Hallmark Channel, the jazz offerings in Philly this Valentine’s Day will be sure to tap into your romantic side.

At Woodmere Art Museum, Lifeline Music Coalition celebrates ten years of presenting Friday night jazz with a tribute to one of the music’s most seductive voices, Billy Eckstine. The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble supplies the music as usual, with vocalist Warren Cooper taking on the unenviable task of emulating Eckstine’s soul-stirring baritone on a set of classic ballads. [INFO]

A modern-day equivalent would be the renowned Gregory Porter, though he’s often as compelled to wrestle with social issues as he is to turn on the charm. He’ll be at the Kimmel Center, albeit a few days early – on Feb. 10. It’s also a chance to get an early glimpse at his upcoming album All Rise, a return to his original songs after a span taken up with his homage to Nat King Cole and symphonic projects. [INFO]

Philly vocalist Joanna Pascale can simmer the sultriness of a ballad as well, though she often takes a more panoramic view of the nature of love. Witness her most ambitious project to date, a set of music based on the secret language of flowers encoded in Victorian-era bouquets undertaken for the Kimmel’s Jazz Residency series (she’ll reprise it there in April). For Valentine’s Day at Chris’ Jazz Café she’ll likely stick to the more traditional side of her repertoire, but she’ll likely scatter a few surprises into her three sets, especially with pianist Orrin Evans at her side. [INFO] Meanwhile South has the very eclectic V. Shayne Frederick for three nights, for those who want to keep the swoon going all weekend long. [INFO]

Trumpeter Marquis Hill is a rapidly rising star whose latest, Love Tape, channels his interests in contemporary hip-hop and R&B into a modern reimagining of neo-soul jazz that springs from the same soil as fellow Chicago innovators Jeff Parker and Makaya McCraven (who will be playing drums for this show). Hill’s silky horn sound plumbs a deep well of emotion while Hill weaves an alluring tapestry dedicated to celebrating self-love and empowerment. He’ll be joined by McCrave, keyboardist Jahari Stampley and bassist Junius Paul at the Ruba Club on Feb. 15, a love letter from Ars Nova Workshop. [INFO]

Aaron Parks isn’t likely to focus on the holiday in any significant way, but as one of the most expressive and searching pianists on the modern scene, and with two amazing partners joining him for the occasion, there should be ample reason to set hearts aflutter – especially in the intimate environs of @exuberance. Parks, whose music ranges from delicately exploratory solo piano to electronica-laced excursions, will be joined by bassist Ben Street and the legendary drummer Billy Hart. [INFO]

Meanwhile, South has a few stand-outs apart from the V-Day festivities this month. Vibraphonist Joel Ross, fresh off landing on countless “Best Of” lists for his Blue Note debut, Kingmaker, will return to the city for the Feb. 7-8 weekend, while the engaging French vocalist Cyrille Aimée will arrive on Feb. 21-22; her most recent album finds her delving into the songbook of Stephen Sondheim with the maestro’s approval. [INFO]

Chris’ Jazz Café has a supergroup of stalwarts on the weekend of Feb. 21-22. Saxophonist Eric Alexander is a tenor stalwart in the classic mode, while Steve Davis is a versatile trombonist who played in the final version of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before moving on to a wide-ranging career. Both men worked closely with the recently departed elder Harold Mabern, and continue to carry the torch of that classic hard bop sound. For this date they’ll share the frontline with Philly trumpet great John Swana and be backed by an all-star local rhythm section: young pianist Joe Block, bass mainstay Mike Boone, and drummer Rodney Green. [INFO]

The sound of Americana has long tinged the airy, twang-redolent guitar sound of the great Bill Frisell. But with his latest project, HARMONY, he embraces his folky side to an ever greater degree. The group brings Frisell together with cellist Hank Roberts, guitarist/bassist Luke Bergman and vocalist Petra Haden, whose father, the late bassist Charlie Haden, was an innovator in navigating similar terrain. Through traditional songs and nostalgically trenchant originals, the group’s sound explores the tones of early American folk music with starkly gorgeous results. They’ll be at the Ardmore Music Hall on Feb. 29. [INFO]

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