Jazz Appreciation Month got off to an early start on Monday, as Mayor Jim Kenney presented the inaugural Benny Golson Award to Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste under the gaze of portraits of his predecessors at City Hall. Overlapping with Women’s History Month, the morning event also paid tribute to local legends Trudy Pitts and Shirley Scott and living legend Monnette Sudler (whose name proved an unfortunate challenge to the administration’s speakers). The month that follows will be bookended with a buffet of festivals as it draws to a close.
The entire final week, from the 23rd to the 30th, will mark the inaugural Philadelphia Jazz Festival, spearheaded by South’s Bynum Brothers and the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy. The fest will sprawl across a number of venues, including the Bynums’ South, Warmdaddy’s and RELISH along with Chris’ Jazz Café, World Café Live and the Ardmore Music Hall, among others. The fest will bring home several favorite sons, including trumpeter Randy Brecker, organ great Joey DeFrancesco, and longtime South regulars Gerald Veasley and Orrin Evans. Other headliners include pianist ELEW, 93-year-old singer/pianist (and voice of Schoolhouse Rock) Bob Dorough, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and a tribute to the legendary jam sessions at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus.