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Moment's Notice: Dianne Reeves kicks off the Exit Zero Jazz Fest

Welcome to Moment’s Notice, WRTI’s regular guide to the Philadelphia jazz scene. We’re here to tip you off to the best shows during the week ahead. Sign up now to receive this service in your inbox every week. And if you want to let us know about a show on the horizon, or share any other feedback, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Dianne Reeves — Thursday in Cape May, Friday in Blue Bell

Two weeks ago, when Dianne Reeves was honored with the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, she took the stage after a succession of tributes from several heralded younger vocalists. Pausing first to note her gratitude, she sang the standard “You Taught My Heart to Sing” as a duet with guitarist Romero Lubambo, instantly refocusing the spotlight with an unforced sovereignty that has long been her stock in trade.

At 67, Reeves is indisputable jazz-vocal royalty — an NEA Jazz Master, a five-time Grammy winner, a generational touchstone — but also still an eager collaborator and a self-professed student of the music. It has been almost a decade since her last studio album, but she’s lost no momentum as a live performer. See for yourself this week, as she joins Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band for an opening night kickoff to the Exit Zero Jazz Festival (Thursday) and then appears with her own group on the Lively Arts Series at the Montco Cultural Center (Friday).

Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ, $65 to $150; purchase tickets

Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Montco Cultural Center, Montgomery County Community College, Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA, $40 to $60, with discounts for children and seniors; purchase tickets.

Brothers 4 — Friday, Community Education Center

A stalwart foursome also known as the Landham Brothers band, Brothers 4 features two of those namesake players — Robert on saxophones, Byron on drums — along with Josh Richman on piano and Sam Harris on bass. This concert in West Philly is being promoted with the catchphrase “Keeping the Swing,” which feels like the ultimate truth in advertising.

Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, $30 in advance, $35 at the door; tickets and information.

Trumpeter Etienne Charles, with Creole Soul
courtesy of the artist
Trumpeter Etienne Charles, with Creole Soul

Exit Zero Jazz Festival — Friday through Sunday, Cape May

Now in its fall rotation, the Exit Zero Jazz Festival is bursting with notable bookings down the shore. A partial list of highlights would include the pianists Abdullah Ibrahim and Vijay Iyer, each with an exceptional trio; trombonist Steve Turre, with his Generations band; singers Jazzmeia Horn (with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra) and Jennifer Hartswick (with guitarist Nick Cassarino); and trumpeters Sean Jones (with the music and tap dance hybrid Dizzy Spelz) and Etienne Charles (pictured above, with his dynamic Creole Soul). Not to mention Omara Portuondo and Meshell Ndegeocello, two captivating vocal performers holding down different points in the spectrum.

Nov. 10-12 at Cape May Convention Hall, Cape May, NJ; tickets and information.

LaMP + Fire Jelly — Friday, Ardmore Music Hall

Jam-band combustion kicks into a higher gear with this double bill. LaMP is an alliance between drummer Russ Lawton and Hammond B-3 organist Ray Paczkowski — veteran partners both in their own Soule Monde and in the Trey Anastasio band — along with guitarist Scott Metzger, best known for his work in Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. The same instrumentation holds for Fire Jelly, an aptly named supertrio with John Medeski on organ and keyboards, Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, and G. Calvin Weston on drums.

At 8 p.m., Ardmore Music Hall, 23 East Lancaster Ave, Ardmore, $25 (standing room only); purchase tickets.

Harold Lopez Nussa
Frank Siemers
Harold López-Nussa

Harold López-Nussa feat. Grégoire Maret — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Harold López-Nussa had already proven himself a valiant ambassador for the illustrious Cuban piano tradition when he signed to Blue Note earlier this year. But his new album for the label, Timba A La Americana, manages to raise the bar. It’s a fierce but festive statement propelled not only by piano heroics but also by the contour of López-Nussa’s designs — and the ebullient lyricism of partners like the harmonica virtuoso Grégoire Maret, who rejoins him here.

Nov. 10 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Lucy Yeghiazaryan
Shervin Lainez
Lucy Yeghiazaryan

Lucy Yeghiazaryan with the Grant Stewart Quartet — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

An Armenian-American jazz singer with smoke and syrup in her tone, Lucy Yeghiazaryan has been nothing if not prolific of late: she has two new albums out this year, both featuring her husband, the unflappable tenor saxophone standard-bearer Grant Stewart. They’ll bring the same depth of rapport to the stage at Chris’ on Saturday night.

Nov. 11 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30, $85 and $105, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Nate Chinen has been writing about music for more than 25 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Editorial Director at WRTI, he oversees a range of classical and jazz coverage, and contributes regularly to NPR.