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The Bill Frisell Three, Lux Quartet, Ruth Naomi Floyd 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: Bill Frisell Three — Tuesday, Ardmore Music Hall

Few musicians in our midst have ever sustained the level of graceful, lyrical interiority that Bill Frisell accesses whenever he picks up a guitar. For fresh evidence, seek out the recent album Owl Song, which trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire conceived as an outing with Frisell and drummer Herlin Riley. Or you could set a date with a different trio — the one that Frisell leads here, with two compatriots deeply in tune with his style, multi-reedist Gregory Tardy and drummer Rudy Royston. We’re getting them fresh: this will be the first stop on a 10-day northeast tour.

Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Ardmore Music Hall, 23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA, $29 standing, $65 and $75 premium seating (with service fees); purchase tickets.

Alto saxophonist Jesse Davis.
Courtesy Jazz Ascona

Jesse Davis Quartet — Wednesday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Live at Smalls Jazz Club, released last year, is a modern classic of its kind: an ultra-casual but deeply serious outing by a band that swings like there couldn’t possibly be another option. Led by Jesse Davis, an alto saxophonist originally from New Orleans and back now after a long stretch residing in Europe, the ensemble features Smalls’ owner, Spike Wilner, on piano. Joe Farnsworth is on drums, and the bassist on the album is Peter Washington; here it’ll be John Webber, another stalwart of the scene.

Feb. 21 at 7:30 and 9:00 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $20, $75 and $95, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Makaya McCraven — Wednesday and Thursday, Solar Myth

Over the last decade, Makaya McCraven has made the transition from first-rate Chicago drummer to head-spinning global "beat scientist," on his own creative terms. He has also garnered a rare combination of critical acclaim and popular success, which is one reason this two-night residency has been sold out for weeks. Join the waiting list, or hang out in the front bar and hope to catch a vibe.

Feb. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, sold out; more information.

Erika Kapin
Courtesy of the artist

Lux Quartet — Friday, Solar Myth

Jointly led by pianist Myra Melford and drummer Allison Miller, brilliant composer-bandleaders from slightly different quadrants of the improvised music grid, Lux Quartet also features music by its two other accomplished members: saxophonist Dayna Stephens and bassist Scott Colley, each a selfless contributor who knows how to make a smart impression.

Feb. 23 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; more information.

Tenor Madness — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

The name of the engagement is meant to evoke a 1956 album by Sonny Rollins, which featured John Coltrane on its title track. But as with that recorded performance, which always suggested a mutual admiration society more than any vicious cutting session, the saxophonists gathered here — Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart and Victor North — are likely to seek common ground. That doesn’t mean it won’t get heated at times, with the Tim Brey Trio tending the pilot light.

Feb. 24 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30, $85 and $105, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Courtesy of the artist

Ruth Naomi Floyd — Sunday, Feb. 25, First Presbyterian Germantown

A seasoned vocalist, composer, bandleader and adjunct faculty member at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, Ruth Naomi Floyd often draws inspiration from the Black church as well as the jazz tradition in her work, seeking the spiritual foundation in any musical exchange. This will surely be the case here, in an Artcinia performance bearing the title “Messages of Hope Through Sacred Jazz.”

Feb. 25 at 2 p.m., First Presbyterian Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, $5 to $15; 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.