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Julian Lage unpacks 'Speak to Me,' Azar Lawrence surveys 'New Sky'

Moment’s Notice is 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 Sunday. And if you want to let us know about a show on the horizon, or share any other feedback, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Julian Lage — Thursday, Ardmore Music Hall

Speak to Me, the stirring new album by guitarist Julian Lage, imagines the American landscape as an open road, aglow with possibilities. Produced by Joe Henry, the album proposes a rattling, often rusticated mix of modern jazz with the rollick of gospel music, the flintier side of country, and a hint of early rock ‘n’ roll. Along with Lage’s working trio, with Jorge Roeder on bass and Dave King on drums, it features Patrick Warren on keyboards and Levon Henry on saxophone. This show at the Ardmore Music Hall comes several dates into a spring tour, preceding a marquee show at the Town Hall in New York and a stop at the Big Ears Festival.

March 21 at 8 p.m., Ardmore Music Hall, 23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, $30 standing (seated tickets sold out); purchase tickets.

ZTKM Quartet — Thursday, Temple Performing Arts Center

Led by saxophonist Zephyr Kremer, a product of the jazz program at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, the ZTKM Quartet favors a jangly but surefooted form of modern jazz. In this free performance on home turf at the Rite of Swing Cafe, it will feature pianist Keith Chasin, bassist Doug Drewes and drummer Gusten Rudolph.

March 21 at 4:30 p.m., Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 North Broad Street, free; more information.

Courtesy of the artist

Anthony Hervey Quintet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Anthony Hervey is a trumpeter and singer who leans into the soulful side of hard-bop, with an engine built for internal combustion. Drawing in part from his recent album Words From My Horn, he turns up here with a band featuring tenor saxophonist Dylan Band, pianist Joe Block, bassist Elay Kadosh and drummer Miguel Russell.

March 22 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Courtesy of the artist

Kaisa’s Machine — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

The Finnish bassist Kaisa Mäensivu has a warmly engaging approach to small-group interplay, and with her band Kaisa’s Machine, she favors a hearty, progressive sound. She’s touring behind Taking Shape, a smart recent album on Greenleaf Music, which features (among others) Tivon Pennicott on tenor saxophone, Sasha Berliner on vibraphone, and Joe Peri on drums.

March 23 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

The Azar Lawrence Experience — March 24, Solar Myth

A powerful tenor saxophonist in the post-Coltrane continuum, Azar Lawrence is still best recognized for his prolific output in the 1970s, when he carried that flame forward. He’s been nearly as productive as a bandleader and composer in recent years, meeting a scene well primed to receive him. He’s likely to draw here from his most recent album, New Sky, which was released in 2022; among the musical associates in his band are the brilliantly versatile pianist Marc Cary and authoritative bassist Michael Bowie.

March 24 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; 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.