One of the most memorable moments of this month’s star-studded gala concert by the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia didn’t come from the marquee names who dropped into town for the evening, but from a trio of local treasures. Philly sax greats Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, and Tony Williams engaged in a musical discourse over Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol’s “Perdido,” a reminder to local audiences of the jazz riches available to us on a regular basis.
Two of those three will join forces once more tonight when Barnes and McKenna co-lead their quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café. Barnes is a die-hard bopper with a husky soulful tenor tone, while McKenna is a master of melody able to summon great emotion with the most elegantly reserved of playing, as he did movingly last month at a memorial service for his old friend, pianist and educator Jimmy Amadie.
The quartet performs two sets tonight at Chris’, one at 8 and one at 10. Tickets and more information can be found here.