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Moment's Notice: Simon Moullier, Bobby Zankel, Daniel Villarreal

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: Simon Moullier Trio — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Simon Moullier has been a rising star on vibraphone for a while now — a status officially ratified this year in both the DownBeat Critics Poll and a recent episode of Jazz Night in America. What matters more than hype, of course, is the handiwork. Where his surefooted recent album Isla is a dreamy set of his own compositions, a brand-new release, Inception, consists of musicianly standards by composer-players like Charles Mingus (“Peggy’s Blue Skylight”), Horace Silver (“Ecaroh”) and McCoy Tyner (the title track). Moullier brings crisp logic and breezy panache to his interpretations, which feel both rooted and modern. His razor-sharp working trio, with Luca Alemanno on bass and Jongkuk Kim on drums, hits at Chris’ Jazz Cafe one day after the album drops, on Fresh Sound Records.

Oct. 21 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30 to $105, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Danny Jonokuchi Big Band — Thursday, Temple Performing Arts Center

An accomplished composer-arranger, trumpeter and vocalist originally from Los Angeles, Danny Jonokuchi is an alum of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, which makes this a homecoming gig. Drawing from his new album Voices, which features an array of guest singers, he leads a stacked edition of his big band — including his former professor Dick Oatts (saxophones) and fellow alumni like Fareed Simpson (trumpet). Sirintip and Alexa Barchini, who are both featured on the album, will share the vocal spotlight with Chelsea Reed.

Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m., Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street, free; more information.

Tim Brey Sextet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

In his music for sextet, pianist and Boyer professor Tim Brey applies a high sheen to the swinging modern mainstream, with a notable assist from the futuristic timbres of John Swana’s EVI (electronic valve instrument). The other members of the ensemble: Elijah Jamal Balbed on tenor saxophone, Ben Karp on guitar, Madison Rast on bass, and Wayne Smith on drums.

Oct. 20 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25 to $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Bobby Zankel
Michelle Lyu
Bobby Zankel

Bobby Zankel and the Wonderful Sound 8 — Saturday, Painted Bride Art Center

Alto saxophonist and composer Bobby Zankel has always sent his music down a righteous path, but with A Change of Destiny, recently released on the Makahala label, he raises the bar. Inspired by the excavation of slave quarters on the site of the George Washington’s Philadelphia home, the album interrogates our ideals of freedom — with vital contributions from violinist Diane Monroe, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Sumi Tonooka, bassist Lee Smith, and drummer Pheeroan akLaff. (Ruth Naomi Floyd delivers the powerful vocals and spoken word on the album; V. Shayne Frederick will pick up that mantle here.)

Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 5212 Market Street, $20 suggested donation; more information.

Daniel Villarreal
Cassie Scott
Daniel Villarreal

Daniel Villarreal — Friday and Saturday, Solar Myth

From Panama by way of Chicago, and recently established in Philly, Daniel Villarreal is a drummer and DJ with a psychedelic take on groove. His crisp new album, Lados B, is a trio outing with guitarist Jeff Parker and bassist Anna Butterss, culled from the sessions for the intoxicating 2022 release Panamá 77. For this weekend stand, he’ll be rattling around with Nathan Karagianis on guitar, Cole DeGenova on keyboards, Gordon Walters on bass and Danjuma Gaskien on percussion.

Oct. 20 and 21 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 S. Broad Street, $20; purchase tickets.

Butcher Brown — Saturday, World Cafe Live

Solar Music, the hardy new album by Butcher Brown, digs in at the intersection of boom-bap metaphysics and head-nod atmospherics, with the odd cameo by trumpeter Keyon Harrold or singer Vanisha Gould. It’s a stylish and well-wrought studio production, though it changes nothing about the basic fact about this Richmond, Va. band — it’s best experienced in a room, in thumping real time.

Oct. 21 at 8:30 p.m., World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut 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.