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Moment's Notice: Don Braden, Sara Serpa, mssv and more

Welcome to Moment’s Notice, WRTI’s guide to jazz in the greater Philadelphia area. 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. Got tips or feedback? Drop us a line!

Spotlight: Don Braden Quartet — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A jazz revamp of canonical ‘70s soul? Yeah, it’s been done, with varying degrees of artistic success. But there’s reason to take note of Don Braden’s work in this mode, especially on the spirited new album Earth Wind And Wonder, Volume 2. Like its preceding volume, released five years ago, this recording finds Braden — a surefooted tenor saxophonist, flutist, composer and arranger with more than 40 years of seasoning — reimagining classic songs by Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire.

His approach ranges from straightforward to slyly inventive, as on “Profusion,” which mashes up Wonder’s “Contusion” and “Too High” as an intricate workout in 7/8 meter. Braden memorably performed the song at Chris’ Jazz Cafe this past spring, and he’ll bring the same ace rhythm section — Miki Hiyama on piano, Kenny Davis on bass, Jeremy Warren on drums — when he returns to the club this weekend.

Oct. 14 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30, $85 and $105, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

André Matos and Sara Serpa, whose new album together is 'Night Birds'
Ebru Yildiz
André Matos and Sara Serpa, whose new album together is 'Night Birds'

Sara Serpa & André Matos — Tuesday, Fire Museum

Night Birds, the new album by singer Sara Serpa and guitarist André Matos, feels like a peek inside a private conversation; the depth of their musical interplay, an extension of their personal bond, has the sense of something irreplaceable and precious. The album features original material, spontaneous inventions and a Bartók bagatelle, with additional contributors like keyboardist Dov Manski, who rejoins them for this album-release performance (with an opening set by Song People).

Oct. 10 at 8 p.m., Fire Museum, Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement, 1542 E. Montgomery Ave., $10-$20; purchase tickets.

True Blue Jazz Festival — Thursday through Oct. 15, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Now in its 11th year, the True Blue Jazz Festival stakes a claim for straight-ahead jazz — in an implicit rejoinder to the contemporaneous Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, where smooth reigns supreme. This year, True Blue kicks off on Thursday with Philly’s own Paula Johns on vocals, backed by the Joe Holt Trio. On Friday, singer and saxophonist Camille Thurman joins the Darrell Green Quartet. And Saturday presents a few options: the Libby York Trio, featuring guitarist Randy Napoleon; the True Blue 7th Annual Smokin’ Hot Firehouse Jazz Big Band Marathon; and Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Latin Jazz Orchestra, drawing from a dynamic new album, Vox Humana. 

Oct. 12 through 15 at various venues, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; tickets and information.

courtesy of the artist

Jonathan Michel Quartet Celebrates Shirley Scott — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Bassist Jonathan Michel grew up in New England, and he’s now based in New York City. But he spent enough formative time on the scene in Philly to be considered one of our own — a stature that he brings to the forefront in this tribute to organist Shirley Scott. He has assembled an excellent crew for the task: John Ellis on saxophones, Anwar Marshall on drums, and Kayla Childs, the force behind Black Buttafly, on organ and Fender Rhodes.

Oct. 13 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

‘Tribute to Miles Davis’ — Friday, Woodmere Art Museum

The key question facing any tribute to Miles Davis is curation: which phases of his restless evolution do you prioritize, and which do you set to the side? Duane Eubanks, who like Davis is a trumpeter of lyrical instinct, seems more inclined to cover a range than to pick a side; he’s said to be filling this tribute with fare spanning the 1950s (“All Blues”) through the ‘80s (“Tutu”).

Oct. 13 at 6 p.m., Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue, $15 to $20; purchase tickets.

mssv — Saturday, Solar Myth

Guitarist Mike Baggetta has accrued a long list of credits in the realm of modern jazz, but with mssv he reaches toward a more raucous ideal. The band is his collaboration with drummer Stephen Hodges, who’s best known for his extensive work with Tom Waits, and bassist Mike Watt, who became a punk legend with the Minutemen. The trio’s new album, Human Reaction, makes the most out of power-keg catharsis and terse, sloganish lyrics, with Baggetta leading the charge on vocals. Arrive early for an opening set by guitarist Ava Mendoza, who’ll be celebrating the release of a bracing new album, Echolocation, made in partnership with bassist Devin Hoff.

Oct. 14 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 S. Broad Street, $25; 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.