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Tarbaby, Al Di Meola, Fieldwork and more in Moment's Notice

We’re looking at another stacked week ahead for live jazz in Philadelphia, even for those of us who didn’t act fast enough to score a ticket to Laufey at The Met. Take note of three stunning collective trios — Tarbaby, Fieldwork, and Wonderful Sound 3 — as well as guitar hero Al Di Meola, now on the comeback trail. As always, let us know if you have feedback, or an event to share. See you out there!

Spotlight: Tarbaby — Friday and Saturday, Solar Myth

Fearsome conviction is the only acceptable mode for this collective trio, a working unit for more than 15 years. With Orrin Evans on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, it’s a band that can rumble straight down the middle, or swerve into all manner of detours, always with a hypersensitivity to dynamics, timbre and tone. The most recent Tarbaby album, Dance of the Evil Toys, featured the eminent alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, and previous releases have drawn in collaborators like trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and tenor saxophonist JD Allen. For this two-nighter in Philadelphia, Evans’ hometown, the group will feature a successive pair of spoken-word performers: local legend Ursula Rucker (on Friday) and the city’s current poet laureate, Kai Davis (on Saturday).

May 10 and 11 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; purchase tickets.

Even Odds, a band comprised of (left to right) alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer/bandleader Dan Weiss.
Stephanie Ahn-Weiss
Courtesy of the artist
Even Odds, a band comprised of (left to right) alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Dan Weiss.

Even Odds — Tuesday, Solar Myth

Drummer-composer Dan Weiss named this band, and its bracing new album, with a mind geared toward gameplay. Most of his music for the group builds on complex miniatures that his brilliant conversation partners, pianist Matt Mitchell and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, are free to expand upon through spontaneous interplay. It’s a recipe for moment-to-moment excitement — especially here, at the tail end of a nine-date tour.

May 7 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; purchase tickets.

Courtesy of the artist

Al Di Meola — Friday, Keswick Theatre

Last year, this jazz-rock and world-music guitar hero scared a lot of fans when he suffered a heart attack onstage in Romania. He has since returned to form and then some, releasing his first new studio album in four years, Twentyfour. Di Meola rolls into Philly under the banner of The Electric Years Tour, which suggests a set list drawing from his tenure in Return to Forever as well as callbacks to early solo efforts like Elegant Gypsy and Land of the Midnight Sun.

May 10 at 8 p.m., Keswick Theatre, 291 North Keswick Avenue, Glenside, $40; purchase tickets.

NDR Bigband & Kinan Azmeh — Friday, Penn Live Arts

Kinan Azmeh, a Syrian clarinetist and composer based in New York City, joined forces a few years ago with the NDR Bigband, Germany’s pacesetting large ensemble, for an album titled Flow. They reunite this week for a concert that will once again feature Azmeh’s folkloric yet future-forward music, arranged and conducted by Wolf Kerschek.

May 10 at 8 p.m., Zellerbach Theater, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, $29-80; purchase tickets.

Wonderful Sound 3 — Saturday, Black Squirrel Club

Alto saxophonist, composer and local luminary Bobby Zankel convenes a special edition of his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound — a trio, hence Wonderful Sound 3 — with a couple of distinguished partners well equipped to match his instinct for exploratory fire. They are pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, who join him here for a concert loosely pegged to Mother’s Day.

May 11 at 8 p.m., Black Squirrel Club, 1049 Sarah Street, $15 to $25; purchase tickets.

Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, and Steve Lehman comprise Fieldwork, reuniting this weekend at Solar Myth.
Pi Recordings
Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, and Steve Lehman comprise Fieldwork, reuniting at Painted Bride Art Center.

Fieldwork — May 12, Painted Bride Art Center

Formed at the turn of this century by pianist Vijay Iyer and two collaborators, Fieldwork long ago evolved into a collective with Iyer, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer Tyshawn Sorey — a combustible yet distinctly ego-free alignment of composer-improvisers with radical ideas. Last year, the group performed together for the first time in years, at Solar Myth; this follow-up, part of the Jazz on Market series at the Painted Bride, is co-presented by J. Michael Harrison, host of The Bridge on WRTI.

May 12 at 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 5212 Market Street, $20 suggested; 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.