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Moment's Notice: Fantastic Jazz Picks for Aug. 20 through 26

Pianist Luis Perdomo and saxophonist Miguel Zenón celebrate 'El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2' on Aug. 23 at Solar Myth.
Jimmy Katz
Pianist Luis Perdomo and saxophonist Miguel Zenón celebrate 'El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2' on Aug. 23 at Solar Myth.

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: Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo - Wednesday, Solar Myth

The collaborative history between alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Luis Perdomo includes a fair amount of hummingbird movement and complicated form, notably in Zenón’s exceptional quartet. But Perdomo, who hails from Venezuela, and Zenón, who grew up in Puerto Rico, also share an abiding affection for the boleros and other ballads of the Latin American tradition — songs of love and longing, suffused with a vulnerable brand of gallantry. A couple of years ago, the two artists played a pandemic livestream of this material that yielded a gorgeous album, El Arte Del Bolero. They have since recorded a second volume, featuring timeless songs by Tito Rodríguez, Rafael Hernández and others, including the Mexican singer-songwriter Emma Elena Valdelamar. Zenón and Perdomo bestow each of these melodies with a careful and loving touch, as if burnishing an heirloom gemstone. They perform under the auspices of Ars Nova Workshop just before a New York album-release show at Joe’s Pub.

Aug. 23 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 S. Broad Street, $30; purchase tickets.

The members of Shakti, now on a 50th reunion tour.
courtesy of the artist
The members of Shakti, now on a 50th reunion tour.

WRTI Presents Shakti - Tuesday, Keswick Theatre

Formed a half-century ago by two soft-spoken virtuosos, the English guitarist John McLaughlin and the Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain, Shakti broke ground as an early prototype of what would later be known as “world music.” The band — now also featuring vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram — comes bearing not only a new album, This Moment, but also the glow of another irrepressible master, the American banjoist Béla Fleck, as a special guest.

Aug. 22 at 8 p.m., Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, $69 to $139; purchase tickets.

Cyrus Chestnut - Thursday, Atlantic City

On My Father’s Hands, his latest album, pianist Cyrus Chestnut offers a program that plays straight to his considerable strengths: gospel assurance, hard-boppish aplomb, and a lyricism that trades sentimentality for emotional clarity. He performs on the free Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Series; saxophonist Dwain Davis leads his quartet in an opening set.

Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., Kennedy Plaza Stage, Atlantic City, NJ, free.

Waterfront Jazz Festival - Friday and Saturday, Penn’s Landing

Jointly presented by Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the Waterfront Jazz Festival is a free affair on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and its lineup feels well calibrated toward late-summer good vibes. Friday evening (7:30 p.m.) brings The Baylor Project, whose merging of jazz, soul and gospel has elicited an NAACP Image Award as well as five Grammy nods. On Saturday, the Orchestra 2001 Jazz Ensemble gets the party started (at 3 p.m.), followed by the Philly brass band Snacktime (at 5 p.m.) and the singer-songwriter, drummer and bandleader Jamison Ross (at 7:30 p.m.).

Aug. 25 and 26, the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, free; more information here.

Kaisa’s Machine - Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

The Finnish bassist Kaisa Mäensivu has a warmly engaging approach to small-group interplay, and with her band Kaisa’s Machine, she favors a hearty, progressive sound. She’s touring behind Taking Shape, a smart new album on Greenleaf Music, in the fine company of Troy Roberts on saxophone, Sasha Berliner on vibraphone, Lex Korten on piano, and Joe Peri on drums.

Aug. 26 at 8 and 10 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30-$100, 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.