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Sasha Berliner brings the vibes, and Berks Jazz Fest goes big

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: Sasha Berliner — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Flow is a priority in the music of Sasha Berliner, a vibraphonist fast emerging as a bright light of her generation. That dynamic quality, which has brought Berliner into the orbit of prominent bandleaders like Tyshawn Sorey and Christian McBride, also suffuses her 2022 album Onyx, which features elite collaborators like keyboardist James Francies. Last year, Berliner released an energetic and transfixing live album with a group she calls Tabula Rasa, featuring Kalia Vandever on trombone, Matt Sewelon on guitar, Max Gerl on bass and Michael Shekwoaga on drums. Consult that recording — in particular, a far-ranging track like “The Year of Wishful Thinking” — for a sense of the sonic vistas this gig at Chris’ is likely to explore.

April 6 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

Berks Jazz Fest — Thursday through April 14, Reading, PA

Now celebrating 33 years, the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest subsumes Reading, PA with live music — generally speaking, the slick end of contemporary jazz. On Thursday, Warren Wolf will perform a solo vibraphone concert co-sponsored by the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research at Kutztown University (buy tickets here); Wolf will also perform at the Miller Center for the Arts on Friday with the Dave Stryker Quartet, as part of a double bill with bassist Christian McBride. Elsewhere on the festival bill this weekend, you’ll find the likes of Marcus Miller, Najee, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, and Alex Bugnon — and a special stop on guitarist Pat Metheny’s Dream Box Tour, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in West Reading.

For more information and a full schedule, visit berksjazzfest.com.

Bill Jolly and the Hard Drive All-Star Band — Thursday, South Jazz Kitchen

Keyboardist and arranger Bill Jolly has a wealth of experience in commercial music, having worked in television and behind popular artists like Usher and Jill Scott. His Hard Drive All-Star Band, which performs this week on the Unscripted series at South, typically features collaborators like singer Charlene Holloway, alto saxophonist Robert Landham, percussionist Pablo Batista, and trumpeter Mike Jarosz.

April 4 at 7 and 9 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 North Broad Street, $32-$37; tickets and information.

Courtesy of the artist

Tony Miceli / Chris Farr Quintet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Philadelphia’s own vibraphone ace, Tony Miceli, co-leads this band with saxophonist Chris Farr, pursuing a rhythmically assertive brand of post-bop. For this weekend one-nighter, they’ll welcome Paul Bollenback as a special guest on guitar. His brisk eloquence in a swinging mode should help him fit right in.

April 5 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; 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.