As 2017 gives way to tentative hope for a better (-ish?) New Year, there’s one last bit of misery to report before blocking that appropriately reviled year from our collective memories for good. Just one day after Christmas, singer Michelle Lordi’s Huntingdon Valley home was destroyed in a horrific fire. Michelle, her husband and three children all escaped the flames safely, but everything else was a complete loss. She was back on stage for her regular Wednesday night gig at Vintage Bar & Grill in Abington the next night, so drop by there or for Sunday jazz brunch each week at Walnut Street Café. A GoFundMe page has been set up, and Jazz Bridge is accepting tax-deductible donations to help the family recover.
The jazz calendar kicks off on Friday with a performance by vocalist JD Walter and pianist Luis Perdomo, neither of whom could be accused of living in the past. Walter, who originally hails from Lancaster, combines a classic jazz voice with electronic transformations, while Perdomo combines the influence of his native Venezuela with a burning modern jazz intensity. They’ll pair up for the year’s first Friday night show at the Art Museum. [TIX + INFO]
Despite that urge to focus exclusively on the future, Philly organ great Joey DeFrancesco is taking a welcome look back for his next homecoming show at Chris’ Jazz Café on January 12 and 13. For that occasion he’ll be reuniting his original trio, with guitarist Paul Bollenback and local mainstay Byron Landham on drums. Joey D spent his childhood soaking up the organ sound (along with a lot of secondhand smoke) in the city’s legendary organ-jazz bars, so this will be an opportunity to get back to his soulful roots. [TIX + INFO]
Another piece of bad news that reached us in the waning weeks of 2017 was the Painted Bride‘s decision to leave their iconic Vine Street home after their next season. That makes every opportunity to visit in the coming months all the more urgent, but that’s not the only reason to catch the January 20 performance by Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. The great Philly saxophonist and composer has mixed things up with his long-running ensemble in recent years with the addition of a number of special guests, and this month’s appearance by veteran free-jazz tenorman David Murray should lend an especial vigor and muscle to the band. [TIX + INFO]
Since South opened its doors on North Broad in late 2015, bassist Gerald Veasley has anchored the club’s Thursday night line-up, usually bringing in friends from the smooth jazz world and giving them the chance to loosen up and come back to a more straightahead environment. So it only makes sense that his new live album would be recorded on the stage that’s become a second home for him over the last two years. He’ll celebrate the release of Live at South with his band on January 25 and 26. [TIX + INFO]
Philly Jazz Guide