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Chelsea Reed, Joe Block and Laura Orzehoski deck the halls

It’s December, which can only mean one thing: the Christmas jazz season is upon us! We’ve already rummaged through the stocking of new holiday releases on The Late Set, with Samara Joy and Gregory Porter. This week, the Philly area welcomes a few others swinging a holiday vibe. Here’s our rundown; if you have feedback or tips, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Chelsea Reed & The Fair Weather Nine — Friday, The Lounge at World Cafe Live; Sunday, Tellus 360 in Lancaster

A clever, vivacious jazz singer with an instinct for warm inclusion, Chelsea Reed has been holding it down for the swinging vocal tradition over the better part of a decade. Her chief outlet is a band she calls the Fair Weather Five, which first convened in her South Philly dining room. Here as on The Christmas EP, which dropped last week, Reed expands the group to a nonet, with deft arrangements by her tenor saxophonist, Jack Saint Clair. Also in the mix are trumpeter Marcell Bellinger, alto saxophonist Chris Oatts, and baritone saxophonist Josh Lee (whom you may also know as host of Jazz Through the Night on WRTI). It’s a cohort with just the right temperament to match Reed’s ebullience on holiday fare like “Jingle Bells” and “Let It Snow.”

Dec. 15 at 8:30 p.m., The Lounge at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, $20; purchase tickets. Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., Tellus 360, 24 East King Street, Lancaster, PA, $15 in advance, $20 at the door; tickets and information.

Lora Sherrodd
Trombonist Laura Orzehoski

Laura Orzehoski Quintet — Thursday at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Laura Orzehoski, a senior in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple, is already a name to watch on the scene: she holds the lead trombone chair in the New York Youth Symphony Big Band, and recently recorded an album with the Grace Fox Big Band. This week she’ll have some fun with Vince Guaraldi’s iconic music for the Charlie Brown specials, leading a quintet of her peers: Cameron Sewell-Snyder on alto saxophone, Eli Pace on bass and Greg Masters on drums. Inhabiting the all-important Guaraldi chair on piano is Boyer faculty member Tim Brey.

Dec. 14 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $15, $70 and $90, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Pianist Joe Block, a semifinalist in the 2023 Herbie Hancock International Jazz Piano Competition, pictured at Smalls Jazz Club in New York.
courtesy of the artist
Pianist Joe Block, a semifinalist in the 2023 Herbie Hancock International Jazz Piano Competition, pictured at Smalls Jazz Club in New York.

Joe Block’s Holiday Extravaganza — Friday through Dec. 17, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Joe Block, who recently competed as a semifinalist in the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Piano Competition, is now based in New York, where he’s in high demand. But Joe was born and raised in Philadelphia, and makes frequent trips back to his home turf. For this one, he’ll lead a mid-size group with Noah Halpert on trumpet, Jarien Jamanila and Dylan Band on saxophones, Mikey Migliore on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. Featured on vocals are Stella Katherine Cole and Ekep Nkwelle. (Both the Friday and Saturday night shows have sold out, so act fast to grab the Sunday matinee.)

Dec. 15 and 16, sold out. Dec. 17 at 1 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $45, $110 and $130, with luncheon packages; purchase tickets.

Hu Vibrational — Friday, Solar Myth

The percussionist Adam Rudolph is a pioneer in global music, both as a bandleader / conceptualist and a longtime partner to the late Yusef Lateef. With his project Hu Vibrational, Rudolph calls upon farseeing collaborators like the keyboardist Alexis Marcelo, sitar player Neel Murgai, and his fellow percussionist Harris Eisenstadt. They’ll draw from a recent album, Timeless, whose title could be read a few different ways.

Dec. 15 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; 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.