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Moment's Notice: Top Jazz Picks for July 30 through Aug. 5

Welcome to Moment’s Notice, WRTI’s weekly digest of jazz listings in the Philadelphia area. It will launch as an email newsletter in September, so be sure to sign up now!

Spotlight: Marcus Miller - Saturday, Rivers Casino Philadelphia

The exhilarating spark of Marcus Miller’s electric bass playing has been a reliable feature of the contemporary jazz landscape for more than 40 years — since his youthful breakout with Miles Davis, an alliance that yielded the ageless “Tutu.” What’s remarkable is the extent to which Miller himself has defied obsolescence, constantly renewing his lease on high-voltage, crisp-cornered jazz-funk. Listen to his most recent studio album, the peppy Blue Note release Laid Black, and you’re likely to be struck by how easily his myriad collaborators — everyone from Trombone Shorty to Take 6 to trumpeter Marquis Hill — settle into the luxurious fabric of his sound design. Something similar will happen during this stop on his summer tour, as Miller reaches into his back catalog while sharing a taste of Basement Party, his next release.

Aug. 5 at 8 p.m., Rivers Casino, 1001 N, Delaware Avenue, $29; purchase tickets.

Kamasi Washington - Wednesday, City Winery (Canceled)
Like Marcus Miller, tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington is rumbling through town en route to the Newport Jazz Festival. It’s been a while since his last proper album, but Washington recently turned up (all the way up, natch) on albums by his pal Terrace Martin and the R&B collective Dinner Party. With his own band, Washington builds and releases pressure like a magma chamber — and this show, presented by WXPN, is a rare opportunity to experience his volcanic outflow in a contained space.

Aug. 2 at 6 and 9:30 p.m., City Winery, 990 Filbert Street, $55 to $78; purchase tickets.

Victor Gould Quartet - Thursday, Kennedy Plaza Stage, Atlantic City

Pianist and composer Victor Gould has been building momentum since his teenage years, when he apprenticed with the likes of Donald Harrison, Jr. His most recent album, In Our Time, features bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Anwar Marshall, with a turn by saxophonist Dayna Stephens. He appears on the Chicken Bone Beach Jazz series in Atlantic City alongside the Philly jazz mainstay Vertical Current.

Aug. 3 at 7 p.m., Kennedy Plaza Stage, Atlantic City, NJ, free.

Derrick Hodge - Thursday, City Winery

Few artists in our time have merged R&B, jazz and orchestral elements as seamlessly as Derrick Hodge. A bassist and composer — and an alum of Temple's Boyer College of Music and Dance, for what it's worth — Hodge returns to his home turf with a razor-sharp working band, drawing in part from his ecstatic 2020 album Color of Noize.

Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m., City Winery, 990 Filbert Street, $25 to $38; purchase tickets.

Jessy J - Thursday and Friday, South Jazz Kitchen

There’s a bright California gloss to Jessy J’s brand of smooth jazz, which manifests in both her saxophone tone and her airtight pop production. She comes to South bearing a new release, Right on Time, whose premise nods in the direction of Prohibition-era New York, though the musical styling is much more — oh, let’s say, Santa Barbara circa 2005.

Aug. 3 at 7 and 9 p.m., Aug. 4 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 N. Broad Street, $32-$39; 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.