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Orquesta Akokán brings mambo fire, and Lizz Wright smolders

Moment’s Notice packs a lot of firepower this week, with Orquesta Akokán at Penn Live Arts, Lizz Wright at City Winery, and much more. Sign up now to receive this service in your inbox every Sunday. And if you want to share some feedback, drop us a line!

Spotlight: Orquesta Akokán — Friday, Penn Live Arts

The golden age of Cuban mambo lives on, recalling the midcentury gleam of old Havana, in the music of Orquesta Akokán. A dynamic big band formed by a pair of Americans, pianist Michael Eckroth and guitarist Jacob Plasse, it prominently features versatile Cuban players like flutist César López and vocalist José "Pepito" Gómez. And while the Akokán sound is designed in part as a throwback, it has continued to evolve since the release of its second album, 16 Rayos, in 2021. A pair of brand-new singles, “Con Altura” and “TKN,” evoke the heyday of the Tropicana Club — but you might recognize those song titles as recent singles by the Barcelona-born Latin-pop sensation Rosalía.

April 12 at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Theater, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, $29 to $59; purchase tickets.

Tony Smith
Courtesy of the artist

Lizz Wright — Wednesday, City Winery

There isn’t a singer alive with a deeper wellspring of soul than Lizz Wright, who has long combined Southern gospel and folk traditions with the in-the-moment spark of a jazz artist. This return to City Winery comes several days before the release of an exquisite album, Shadow, on her new Blues & Greens label. For a taste of what she’ll be bringing, hear the first single from the album, a Chicago blues shuffle called “Sweet Feeling.”

April 10 at 7:30 p.m., City Winery, 990 Filbert Street, $42 to $60; tickets and information

Adi Meyerson
Courtesy of the artist

Archer / Caroline Davis + Wendy Eisenberg — Thursday, Solar Myth

A double bill of sonic adventurers, in two strikingly different registers. Archer is a knockabout band led by the indefatigable Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis, with the Dutch punk survivor Terrie Ex on guitar, “Johnny Strum” (aka Jon Rune Strøm) on bass and “Dollop Eastfang” (Tollef Østvang) on drums. Sharing the bill is a duo of saxophonist Caroline Davis and guitarist Wendy Eisenberg, who both also sing on Accept When, due out on the Astral Spirits label next week.

April 11 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $25; more information.

Benny Benack III Quintet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A bubbling fountain of breezy charisma on trumpet and vocals alike, Benny Benack III originally hails from Pittsburgh, where he grew up the scion of a notable musical family. His most recent album, Third Time’s The Charm, features an array of starry guests; for this return one-nighter at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, he’ll feature the assured young tenor saxophonist Abdias Armenteros.

April 12 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Anaïs Reno Trio — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A jazz singer with a warmly assured style beyond her years, Anaïs Reno, now all of 20, has been steadily gaining ground on the scene. Her new album, At PizzaExpress Live - in London, finds her backed by a top-shelf trio; she’ll have another one on deck here, with Michael Kanan on piano, David Wong on bass and Matt Wilson on drums.

April 13 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $30, $85 and $105, 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.