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Moment's Notice: Joe Block comes home, and Orrin Evans presides

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: Joe Block Quintet — Thursday, Temple Performing Arts Center

A couple of weeks ago, Joe Block plunged into the fray at the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Piano Competition, joining 10 other semifinalists in hopeful contention. He brought sensitivity as well as fervency to his 15-minute trio set, which opened with the Disney standard “When You Wish Upon a Star” and moved into a fiery invocation of John Coltrane’s “Spiritual,” followed by a brisk jog through Thelonious Monk’s “We See.” The performance didn’t vault him to the winner’s circle, but it left a powerful impression.

Block, who recently earned his masters at Juilliard, was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he received formative training at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Now based in New York, where he’s in high demand, he returns this week for a free concert on TPAC’s Rite of Swing Cafe series — leading a surefooted young quintet with Noah Halpern on trumpet, Chris Lewis on saxophone, Nathan Pence on bass and Christian McGhee on drums.

Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m., Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street, free.

Shadowlands with John Raymond x S. Carey — Monday, MilkBoy Philly

S. Carey and John Raymond, whose collaborative project is called Shadowlands.
Kyle Lehman
S. Carey and John Raymond, whose collaborative project is called Shadowlands.

John Raymond is a trumpeter whose mellow, burnished sound thrives in a range of settings; Sean Carey, known as S. Carey, is a drummer, vocalist and producer best known for his work in Bon Iver. Their calmly intoxicating new album, Shadowlands, suggests a hybrid of Nordic atmospherics and Midwestern indie-folk reflection, suitable for joint release by Jagjaguwar and ECM. (Note: we mistakenly listed this show last week.)

Oct. 30 at 8 p.m., MilkBoy Philly, 1100 Chestnut Street, $18; purchase tickets.

Marshall Allen’s Ghost Horizons — Tuesday, Solar Myth

The Sun Ra Arkestra has a long tradition of Halloween shows, but this year they’re breaking format, at least technically speaking. Instead of a full-blown Arkestra show, the band’s indefatigable leader, Marshall Allen, will present an edition of his Ghost Horizons band. At 99, Allen is still a dynamo on alto saxophone and EWI; he’ll set the pace for his fellow players, which on this occasion will include several Batá drummers.

Oct. 31 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 S. Broad Street, $35; purchase tickets.

Pablo Batista Latin Jazz Ensemble — Thursday, South Jazz Kitchen

If you watched J. Michael Harrison’s recent session with Pablo Batista (and if not, we highly recommend it), you know Batista to be a percussionist with deep cultural knowledge and an easygoing charisma. He brings both to this hometown gig on South’s Unscripted Jazz Series, enlisting the guitarist and tres player Benjamin Lapidus and the bongocero and percussionist Anthony Carrillo.

Nov. 2 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 N. Broad Street, $35 and $40; purchase tickets.

Oceans And — Thursday, Solar Myth

Sonic texture has always been a malleable property for the saxophonist and composer Tim Berne, but rarely in a manner as out-front as it is in Oceans And — a newish trio featuring one of his longest-running collaborators, cellist Hank Roberts, and a fearless newer colleague, the multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand. On a self-titled album released this year, Nealand plays accordion and clarinet and also vocalizes, adding to both the intrigue and the depth of field.

Nov. 2 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 S. Broad Street, $25; purchase tickets.

Nasir Dickerson on kora (right) with Jojo Streater on trumpet in WRTI's studio on Dec. 8, 2022.
Joseph V. Labolito
Temple University
Nasir Dickerson on kora (right) with Jojo Streater on trumpet in WRTI's studio on Dec. 8, 2022.

Nasir Dickerson & the Life Light Empower Band — Friday, Painted Bride Art Center

A versatile player and an unassuming pillar of the local jazz community, Nasir Dickerson is a tenor saxophonist who also doubles seriously on kora, bringing a folkloric West African influence into his music. This concert, co-presented by J. Michael Harrison, will feature his Life Light Empower Band, which includes Jeanette Berry on vocals, Jojo Streater on trumpet and Michael Spearman on trombone, among others.

Nov. 3 at 8 p.m., Painted Bride, 5212 Market Street, $20 suggested; more information

Orrin Evans Group — Friday and Saturday, South Jazz Kitchen

As a pianist, a composer and a bandleader, Orrin Evans is always pushing for communion. His spirited new album, The Red Door, embodies just one manifestation of that urge; you’ll find another this weekend at South, where he convenes an all-star band that features Bilal on vocals and Robin Eubanks on trombone. Evans led a similar ensemble at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival earlier this year, and WRTI just released a concert video, so you can know what you’re in for.

Nov. 3 and 4 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 N. Broad Street, $55; tickets and information.

Minas: Tribute to Astrud Gilberto — Saturday, The Lounge at World Cafe Live

Astrud Gilberto, who died this summer at 83, was a lot more than the voice behind “The Girl From Ipanema” — a fact that Minas brings to the fore in this tribute. A hardworking Brazilian jazz outfit jointly led by partners Orlando Hadded and Patricia King Haddad, Minas also includes Andrew Neu on reeds and flute, Brendan McGeehan on bass and Tom Cohen on drums. Expect them to lean into the fact that Gilberto was a low-key but longtime resident of the Philly area.

Nov. 4 at 8 p.m., The Lounge at 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.