Calling all cool cats — April is Jazz Appreciation Month in Philadelphia

jazz appreciation Philadelphia
Wolf Eyes and Anthony Braxton are pictured.

Let’s boogie, Philly.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month in the City of Brotherly Love, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate.

Philadelphia has a long and storied history with jazz. It is the one-time home to jazz giants such as John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Shirley Scott, Joey DeFrancesco and more – and the city has made April an official citywide celebration through the auspices of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) in connection with its Philly Celebrates Jazz decree.

That means free show programming on April 11 and 12 with an open house and concert at Artistas y Músicos Latinoamericanos (AMLA) at 4261 N. 5th Street. That also means gigs with local players through the Jazz Bridge organization at 6128 Germantown Avenue with saxophonist Victor North (April 13), drummer Byron Landham (April 16) and vocal whiz CiBon (April 20).

Of course, Philly’s pay-for-play clubs and spaces are in on April’s month-long jazz party.

Ars Nova Workshop’s free jazz clubhouse and bar, Solar Myth on S. Broad Street, play host to the drone ensemble Setting on the same, on April 18 as they welcome BASIC – the Philly-born all-star trio featuring guitarist Nick Millevoi, and Natural Information Society drummer Mikel Patrick – to its stages.

On April 19 and 20, however, Solar Myth opens its doors to experimental noise duo Wolf Eyes, who play two respective nights with improvisational saxophone masters: Anthony Braxton, then Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen.

A little further north from Solar Myth on Broad Street is the historic Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, the tall, narrow venue that will welcome composer and saxophonist Odeon Pope with Reggie Workman for the Philadelphia Summit on April 20 as part of the PCC’s Jazz Cultural Voices series.

Every night at Chris’ Jazz Café on Sansom Street is a celebration of America’s classical music and its indigenous-to-Philly flavoring. However, Metro would like to focus on two, soon-to-come events featuring Philadelphia jazz musician, band leader and composer Jake Kaplan. While April 11 is a night of local big band music presented by Kaplan and pianist Reed Bodenstein with his Stormchasers, April 12 and April 26 are devoted to Kaplan’s late-night band, the jazzy Featherbird and its music dedicated to social issues and improvisation.

Philly jazz bassist and composer Gerald Veasley aids greatly in the bookings at South Jazz Parlor on North Broad and maintains his usual live presence as part of his regular Unscripted Jazz Series with an Electric (Charlie) Mingus tribute on April 25.  And while every dinner-and-a-show soiree at South is jazz-ily appreciated, this Thursday’s will feature keyboardist Eric Wortham II and his studies of “The Journal”.

The Jazz Sanctuary, this area’s most provocative nonprofit performing arts group, has venues across Philadelphia, Malvern, Buckingham, Flourtown, and now Lower Gwynedd — marking its debut at the Church of the Messiah on April 12 with vibraphonist Tony Micilli and Sanctuary boss-bassist Alan Segal. The historic Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church on Christian Street will feature the Jazz Sanctuary Quintet on April 25, featuring pianist James Dell’Orefice, and again during April 26’s invitation-only fundraising event at Gloria Dei to benefit the Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation.

Jazz is everywhere, always, in Philadelphia. For April’s Jazz Appreciation Month, it’s just a little easier to find.