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Ruth Naomi Floyd digs into history, Dave Douglas comes bearing Gifts

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: Ruth Naomi Floyd — Thursday, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

A powerfully expressive singer with a bedrock commitment to spirit, Ruth Naomi Floyd has combined jazz performance with sacred purpose in the Philadelphia area for decades. These days, in addition to her work as a mentor and educator (notably at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, where she directs the Temple University Swinging Voices), Floyd has been immersed in cultural research. Some of that inquiry finds its way into Are We Yet Somehow Alive? — a multimedia production that has its world premiere, courtesy of Penn Live Arts, this week. The piece draws on first-person accounts from enslaved Africans in this country, bringing those texts to life with original visual art and a musical amalgam of gospel, blues and jazz. Both the subject and the setting — the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, founded less than a decade before the Emancipation Proclamation — feel ideally suited to Floyd’s artistic strengths.

April 25 at 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 19 South 38th Street, $42; tickets and information.

Jerry Weldon Quintet — Thursday, Temple Performing Arts Center

A longtime stalwart on the New York scene, and a featured soloist in every version of Harry Connick, Jr.’s big band, Jerry Weldon comes to the Rite of Swing Cafe with all manner of lived experience. He also comes with a trusted frontline partner, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli; they’ll have a Cadillac of Philly rhythm sections behind them, featuring Mike Bond on piano, Mike Boone on bass and Byron Landham on drums.

April 25 at 4:30 p.m., Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 North Broad Street, free; more information.

John Abbott
Courtesy of the artist

Dave Douglas Gifts Trio — Friday, Solar Myth

Gifts, a lively and lyrical new album by trumpeter Dave Douglas, combines some typically engaging original material with lovingly off-kilter interpretations of Billy Strayhorn songs. The album features a quartet, with James Brandon Lewis on tenor saxophone; here it will take the form of a trio with two endlessly resourceful partners, guitarist Ava Mendoza and drummer Kate Gentile.

April 26 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $25; purchase tickets.

Kasia Idzkowska
Courtesy of the artist

Jumaane Smith Quartet — Friday and Saturday, South Jazz Kitchen

A trumpeter with a knack for ebullient connection, familiar to many as a sidekick to singer Michael Bublé, Jumaane Smith leads a quartet during this weekend two-nighter — drawing in part from a recent album, I Only Have Eyes For You.

April 26 and 27 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 North Broad Street, $35; tickets and information.

Ben Sutin Quartet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Ben Sutin is a violinist whose varied professional history includes all manner of klezmer and Latin music as well as the Big Apple Circus. He appears here to play a release show for Mr. Inevitable, with two of that album’s collaborators, Ben Rosenblum (on piano and accordion) and Chris Tordini (on bass). Dominic Palombi fills in for Johnathan Blake (on drums).

April 26 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80 and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Tyreek McDole Quartet — Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A swinging baritone who won the most recent Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Tyreek McDole is still in his early 20s, though his style calls back to Billy Eckstine and Joe Williams. He has become a regular visitor to Chris’ — a fact that speaks to his sincere connection with local audiences.

April 27 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.