© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jazzmeia Horn, Nicole Mitchell, Josh Lawrence, Don Was and more

We hope you’ve been having a good Memorial Day weekend. While we pause to honor our veterans and relax with family and friends, we’re also looking ahead to a busy week on the jazz scene here in Philadelphia. Take special note of next Sunday, June 2, when Esperanza Spalding will be at McCarter Theatre Center and Sumi Tonooka pays tribute to Monnette Sudler at Solar Myth. But first, here’s the best of what’s up this week.

Spotlight: Jazzmeia Horn — Saturday, Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

The last time Jazzmeia Horn performed in Philadelphia — at the Kimmel Center a year and a half ago, on a concert featuring drummer Roger Humphries, Mid Atlantic Arts’ Living Legacy Jazz Awardee, as a featured guest — she dug deep and reached far. She is that kind of jazz vocalist, an ambitious artist who honors the elders even as she charts her own path. Her most recent release, Dear Love, earned her a 2022 Grammy nod for Best Large Ensemble Album — no mean feat, considering that she wrote the big band arrangements herself. This weekend, Horn brings her live-wire charisma and scat-singing dynamism to the Clef Club's Jazz Cultural Voices Concert Series. She’ll be fresh off a string of dates in Italy, and no doubt bringing the fire.

June 1 at 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, 736 S. Broad Street, $45; purchase tickets.

Echoes Of An Era: The Jazz Side Of Chaka Khan — Tuesday, City Winery

Spearheaded by Alison Crockett, whose soul-steeped vocals have graced productions by King Britt and Us3, this tribute pays homage to a singer equally rooted in funk and jazz. Crockett — who has cited Khan’s 1982 album Echoes of an Era as formative — will be joined in celebration by keyboardist Orrin Evans, trumpeter Thad Wilson, bassist Obasi Akoto Steve Kirby and drummer Lenny Robinson.

May 28 at 7:30 p.m., City Winery, 990 Filbert Street, $20 to $40; tickets and information

Josh Lawrence Quintet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A trumpeter with a strong tone and a flexible attack, Josh Lawrence has a new album, Measured Response, that combines both traits with a thoughtful balance of tunes. To celebrate the album, which is just out on the Posi-Tone label, Lawrence has assembled a smart young band with Willie Morris on tenor saxophone, Luke Carlos O’Reilly on piano, Noah Garabedian on bass and Sarah Gooch on drums.

May 31 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom Street, $25, $80, and $100, with dinner packages; purchase tickets.

Greg Bryant and Paul Horton, the core members of Concurrence.
courtesy of the artist
Greg Bryant and Paul Horton, the core members of Concurrence.

Concurrence — Friday, Community Education Center

Indivisible is the bracing new album by Concurrence, a beat-forward duo featuring keyboardist Paul Horton and bassist Greg Bryant. You may know them from other musical areas — Horton plays with Brittany Howard, and Bryant is the host of Evening Jazz and The Get Down on WRTI — but together with a series of first-rate drummers, they create a deep meld of in-the-pocket groove. (This album-release show will feature Aaron Smith.)

May 31 at 7 p.m., Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, $30 at the door; more information.

Nicole Mitchell performs at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Doris Duke Artist Awards at Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Feb. 13, 2023 in New York City.
Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan
Getty Images
Nicole Mitchell performs at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Doris Duke Artist Awards at Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center on Feb. 13, 2023 in New York City.

Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble — Friday, Solar Myth

There’s no limit to the imaginative capacity of Nicole Mitchell, a flutist, composer and electronics artist who embodies the best traditions of the AACM (an organization she has long served in leadership roles). Here Mitchell revisits her Xenogenesis Suite, a 2008 album inspired by the work of Afro-futurist novelist Octavia Butler; she’ll lead an octet featuring brilliant partners like the vocalist Mankwe Ndosi, alto saxophonist Darius Jones, pianist Angelica Sanchez and drummer Avreeayl Ra. (Full disclosure: I’ll be leading a pre-concert discussion with Mitchell at 6:45 p.m., so arrive early for more insights on the music.)

May 31 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $40; tickets and information

Don Was: bassist, bandleader, and president of Blue Note Records.
Miryam Ramos

Don Was & The Pan Detroit Ensemble — June 2, Ardmore Music Hall

These days, Don Was is best recognized as the A-list record producer and bohemian sage at the helm of Blue Note Records. But he’s also a bassist and bandleader, even beyond his tenure with Was (Not Was) — and with the Pan Detroit Ensemble, his first new band in 15 years, he’s tapping into a Motor City groove with partners like tenor saxophonist Dave McMurray, trombonist Vincent Chandler and keyboardist Luis Resto. This stop on their tour doubles as Night 3 of Unlimited Devotion: A Celebration of the Grateful Dead, and will feature a preceding set by Stella Blue Note, featuring Was, guitarists Steve Kimock and Anders Osborne and others.

June 2 at 4:30 p.m., Ardmore Music Hall, 23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, $40 standing, $99 seated, $149 and $175 balcony, three-day pass is $115; 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.