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Joey Alexander, Sun Ra Arkestra and a galactic range in between

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: Joey Alexander Trio — Friday and Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Continuance is a fitting title for the latest album by pianist Joey Alexander, who achieved global fame as an adorable young wunderkind about a decade ago. Now 20, he has grown musically and in all other respects, notably developing his voice as a composer — consonant, contemplative, often suffused with an upwelling optimism — even as he keeps enchanting audiences with his playing. What Alexander now understands is that any jazz career unfolds over a long trajectory; his new music illustrates the underrated value of patiently abiding. You’ll want to consider dropping in for a progress report as he passes through town this weekend, leading a sharp working trio with Kris Funn on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums.

March 8 and 9 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $45, $100 and $120, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

G. Calvin Weston and TR7 / Stephan Crump — Wednesday, Pageant : Soloveev

The more outwardly dynamic half of this tantalizing Fire Museum double bill is a musical dialogue between G. Calvin Weston, a drummer well traveled in the funkier precincts of the avant-garde, and TR7, the interdisciplinary electronic artist also known as Taji Ra'oof Nahl. But don’t be surprised by dynamism in a set by bassist Stephan Crump, whose thoughtful new album, Slow Water, features music for bass, chamber strings, horns, and vibraphone.

March 6 at 8 p.m., Pageant : Soloveev, 607 Bainbridge Street, $10 to $20; tickets and information.

Daniel Carter, Charlie Apicella and Juma Sultan, who work together as The Griots Speak.
courtesy of the artist
Daniel Carter, Charlie Apicella and Juma Sultan, who work together as The Griots Speak.

The Griots Speak — Thursday, Solar Myth

Daniel Carter, a multi-instrumentalist who’s made extensive contributions to free jazz — mainly on saxophone and trumpet, but also flutes and other instruments — joins forces with another loft-scene veteran, percussionist Juma Sultan, in this aptly named collective foursome. The summit is a brainchild of guitarist Charlie Apicella, who also plays Himalayan percussion; its fourth member is pianist Alexis Marcelo.

March 7 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; more information.

Chien Chien Lu and Richie Goods
courtesy of the artist
Chien Chien Lu and Richie Goods

Chien Chien Lu and Richie Goods — Friday through March 10, South Jazz Kitchen

As we’ve mentioned before at WRTI, bassist Richie Goods and vibraphonist Chien Chien Lu developed their project CONNECTED in the depths of pandemic time, as a response to social unrest and a spur toward positive change. For this weekend run, Lu and Goods create a spotlight for singer-songwriter J. Hoard, whose liquid expressivity as a vocalist is a natural fit for the band.

March 8 and 9 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.; March 10 at 6 and 8:30 p.m.; South Jazz Kitchen, 600 North Broad Street, $30 to $35; purchase tickets.

Spyro Gyra — Saturday, Keswick Theatre

A reliable standard-bearer for the slicker side of fusion, Spyro Gyra has embarked on a 50th anniversary concert tour, which means it will be working both in a retrospective mode and with the commitment to carry on. Saxophonist and bandleader Jay Beckenstein is now its only remaining charter member — but that’s not to slight guitarist Julio Fernández and bassist Scott Ambush, who’ve both been in the group for more than 30 years.

March 9 at 8 p.m., Keswick Theatre, 291 North Keswick Avenue, Glenside, $39 to $79 in advance; purchase tickets.

Sun Ra Arkestra — Saturday, City Winery

The intergalactic ensemble formed by Sun Ra some 70 years ago still thrives as an Afrofuturist institution with its own literature, language and lore. At this point it’s also an extension of its indefatigable bandleader, saxophonist Marshall Allen, who took over after Ra’s departure in 1993. Allen, who’s due to mark his own centennial in May, still urges the Arkestra to push the outer limits.

March 9 at 7:30 p.m., City Winery, 990 Filbert Street, $30 to $50; tickets and 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.