Busy, busy weekend in Philly

Busy weekend for jazz in Philly, Fellow Travelers. Saturday afternoon, the LiveJazz Journey will take us to the inaugural Center City Jazz Festival. We’ll head out to the ‘burbs in the evening to experience Bobby Zankel’s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, with special guest Muhal Richard Abrams at Montgomery County Community College. Trombonist Ernest Stuart deserves all sorts of kudos for putting the CCJF together. The DIY showcase for some of Philly’s homegrown and now-based-here talent extends the City’s rich jazz legacy. The festival unfolds at four venues within easy walking distance in the heart of downtown (we call it Center City, here, just so you know). Right now, I’m planning a mix that includes songstress Denise King at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Ernest Stuart at Milkboy, and bassist Alex Claffy at Fergie’s Pub, but just like the music itself, I’m allowing myself space to improvise. Really wish I could stay for another set, but I cannot miss the chance to see legendary pianist/composer/orchestra leader Muhal Richard Abrams with the Warriors. They’ll be premiering a new piece that Abrams has written expressly for the adventurous big band. Abrams is one of the co-founders of the famed Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), around which much phenomenally innovative Chicago talent coalesced, including Amina Claudine Myers, Henry Threadgill, and members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Many years ago, I saw Muhal leading his own orchestra at the Kennedy Center, so I will be front-and-center with my camera on Saturday night. Have a great weekend, y’all – go out and see some live jazz!