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Brad Mehldau solo, Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits, and more

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: Brad Mehldau — Thursday at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton

On two divergent albums released last year — Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles, and The Folly of Desire, a song cycle with the English tenor Ian Bostridge — this ever-searching pianist demonstrates the natural breadth of his keen musical interests. This solo piano recital at Princeton likewise promises to cover the waterfront, with a program that will include Mehldau’s new piece Fourteen Reveries, a meditation on space and intention; selections from his pandemic album Suite: April 2020, emerging from the same contemplative spirit; “L.A. Pastorale,” composed for former Nonesuch Records president Bob Hurwitz; and songs by Radiohead, Elliott Smith and others. This concert comes on the heels of a recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, so there’s no doubt Mehldau will be fully warmed up when he arrives.

Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, Princeton University, $35 to $60, students $15; purchase tickets.

Tim Warfield, Jr. — Thursday at Temple Performing Arts Center

A tenor saxophonist who emerged within a heralded peer group in the early 1990s — perhaps you recall his tenure in the Jazz Futures, alongside Roy Hargrove and Christian McBride — Tim Warfield, Jr. has never wavered in his commitment to swinging personal expression. He’s a faculty member at Boyer, and this week he’ll sit for a DownBeat Blindfold Test on campus with journalist Shaun Brady. (So please note: this is a talk, not a show. But it should be lively, and it’s free.)

Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Chapel of the Four Chaplains, Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 North Broad Street, free; more information.

Courtesy of the artist

Peter Evans Being & Becoming — Friday at Solar Myth

In the hands of Peter Evans, the trumpet can almost assume liquid form — melting, or melding, on his spontaneous whim. His group Being & Becoming, named after an idea from the Sufi writer and musician Inyat Khan, pursues that blank-slate creative flow to the extreme, with collective input from bassist Nick Jozwiak and drummer Michael Shekwoaga Ode. The band usually features Joel Ross on vibraphone; his worthy substitute here is the sonically intrepid pianist Craig Taborn.

Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; purchase tickets.

Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits — Friday at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

The Venezuelan percussionist and composer Marlon Simon is well known to close observers of Latin jazz, as a former sideman to luminaries like Chucho Valdés and Hilton Ruíz. His own group, the Nagual Spirits, has an ambitious new album titled On Different Paths, featuring the adaptable insights of musicians like Alex Norris on trumpet, Boris Kozlov on bass, and his brother Edward Simon on piano.

Feb. 2 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Tyreek McDole
courtesy of the artist
Tyreek McDole

Tyreek McDole Quintet — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A swinging baritone who recently competed as a finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Tyreek McDole is still in his early 20s, though his style calls back to Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams. This weekend he’ll welcome a fellow singer, Georgia Heers, who hails from South Carolina but now resides in Harlem, while pursuing her graduate studies at Juilliard.

Feb. 3 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30, $85 and $105, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Hiruy Tirfe — Saturday, Solar Myth

Born in West Philly and raised in Upper Darby, saxophonist Hiruy Tirfe keeps a busy schedule in his hometown and beyond. He comes by his industrious drive naturally, and places it at the center of a brand-new debut album, 10,000 Hours. This weekend he’ll play a hometown album-release show. (His opener, Black Buttafly, who also goes by Kayla Childs, played keyboards on the album.)

Feb. 3 at 5 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street; more information.

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.