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Masters at work: George Cables, David Murray, Kahil El'Zabar, more

George Cables in Moment's Notice

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: George Cables — Saturday, Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

A post-bop piano legend now on the cusp of 80, George Cables has been a prolific presence on the scene, and a beacon of soulful erudition. His versatility and steady composure brought him into the working orbits of everyone from Art Pepper to Freddie Hubbard to Sonny Rollins — and has continued to serve him well as both a bandleader and a member of The Cookers, alongside peers like saxophonist Billy Harper and drummer Billy Hart. As for his own body of work, Cables has released more than three dozen albums, the most recent being Too Close For Comfort, in 2020. He performed a memorable set at last year’s Center City Jazz Festival, and he returns to our fair city under the auspices of the Jazz Cultural Voices Concert Series at the Clef Club.

June 8 at 7:30 p.m., Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, 736 South Broad Street, $45; purchase tickets.

courtesy of the artist

esperanza spalding — Sunday at McCarter Theatre Center, Monday at Wiggins Park

This ever-effervescent bassist, songwriter and vocalist just announced a forthcoming album made in collaboration with the wizardly Brazilian troubadour Milton Nascimento (watch for it later this summer). On tour along the east coast this week, spalding fronts a trio with drummer Eric Doob and either of two other collaborators: Matt Stevens on guitar or Morgan Guerin on various instruments. She’ll also be joined by two dancers from Antonio Brown Dance.

June 2 at 7 p.m., McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ, $65-$80; purchase tickets.
June 3 at 8 p.m., Wiggins Park, 2 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, free; more information.

Courtesy of the artist

Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray — Wednesday, Solar Myth

Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray first met in Chicago just shy of 50 years ago. They have shared many sonic vibrations since then, on albums like Golden Sea, and as longtime partners on the road. This stop on their tour promises to strike a rousing balance of spiritual inquiry and physical abandon, with Murray on tenor saxophone and El’Zabar on drums, mbira and cajón.

June 5 at 8 p.m., Solar Myth, 1131 South Broad Street, $30; tickets and information.

Willie Jones III Quintet — Friday, Chris’ Jazz Cafe

A sharp and swinging drummer who lights a fire under any bandstand lucky enough to have him, Willie Jones III is also a resourceful bandleader and label owner; his imprint, WJ3, releases his own music as well as albums by his peers. One of those peers, alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, is a regular member of the Willie Jones III Quintet, which is always welcome in these parts; for a good taste of what’s coming, here is footage of the band at Chris’ Jazz Cafe just over a year ago.

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

Luke Carlos O’Reilly Quartet — Friday through June 9, South Jazz Kitchen

Pianist Luke Carlos O’Reilly has long been a key fixture in the Philly jazz scene, and with his recent trio album, Leave the Gate Open, he’s making some noise beyond his hometown. There’s no doubt he’ll bring the utmost soul and band cohesion to this album-release show, which also features the Oakland-raised jazz-R&B singer PHER (formerly Chris Turner).

June 7 and 8 at 7 and 9:30 p.m., June 9 at 6 and 8:30 p.m., South Jazz Kitchen, 600 North Broad Street, $35-$40; tickets and information.

Victor Provost — Saturday, Black Squirrel Club

Recognized as one of the world’s foremost virtuosos of the Trinidadian steel pan, Victor Provost — born and raised on St. John, in the Virgin Islands — has carried his rare talent into a range of settings. He brings his resonant instrument, his quick reflexes, and his working band to the Black Squirrel Club this weekend.

June 8 at 8 p.m., Black Squirrel Club, 1049 Sarah Street, $10; 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.