Though jazz aficionados will have to look long and hard to find any jazz-related events at the Fringe Festival, there are some singular gems among the dozens of events taking place from September 7 through 24.
At the Art Alliance on Friday, September 15 at 7pm, singer Ana Maria Ruimonte and bassist/composer Alan Lewine, with special guests, will present ¡FIESTA OWLSONG!, inspired by, among other things, Afro-Cuban jazz. That show will also be presented September 21 through 23, at 7pm at Taller Puertorriqueño.
In terms of jazz, one of the Fringe highlights will happen on Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23, at 8pm and on Sunday at 2pm at FringeArts. Choreographers Salva Sanchis and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (Rosas) will present an exceptional dance program, A Love Supreme, based on saxophonist/composer John Coltrane’s famed 1965 composition. What makes the program unique is that the four dancers in the performance each endeavor to convey the style of the members of Coltrane’s legendary quartet: saxophonist Coltrane, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.
For a look at a George Crumb ode to Thelonious Monk's classic ’Round Midnight from pianist Marcantonio Barone (September 12 at the Painted Bride), check out Tom Purdom’s preview.
Coltrane’s birthday and United Jazz
The performance of A Love Supreme is also a part of the Philadelphia Jazz Project’s birthday celebration for John Coltrane, taking place between September 18 and September 24. Other highlights of the festivities are a multi-saxophonist jam session at South Tuesday, September 19, at 7pm; a concert by saxophonist Sam Reed at the Clef Club the following evening at 7:30pm; a Friday, September 22 screening of the critically acclaimed documentary film Chasing Trane at Fairmount Park’s Hatfield House at 6pm; and a concert by veteran saxophonist Odean Pope, also at the Hatfield House at 6pm on Saturday, September 23.
The fifth annual Philadelphia United Jazz Festival will take place Saturday, September 16, on South Street between 15th and 16th Streets from 2 to 10pm. This swinging confab will feature, among others, the quartets of saxophonist Sam Reed, vocalist Sherri Butler, and organist Rich Budesa; the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble; the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble; and funk masters Abstract Truth.
Alto sax, jazz flute, and vibist vibes
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett, who began his career with giants like Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, has become, according to the New York Times, “one of the most admired alto saxophonists in jazz after Charlie Parker.” Garrett, a certifiable jazz star, will make a rare Philadelphia appearance when he performs at the Philadelphia Clef Club on Saturday, September 16, at 7:30pm.
Also an infrequent visitor to these parts is the "first lady of the jazz flute,” Bobbi Humphrey, whose recordings seemed to be all over the airwaves decades ago. Humphrey and her group check into South September 7, 8, and 9 for shows at 7pm and 9pm.
Vocalist Arlene Hilton puts together a tribute to vibraphone legends Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton, featuring vibist Randy Sutin, saxophone giant Larry McKenna, and a host of others Saturday, September 30, at 7pm at A’s Place, formerly the Manayunk Diner.