STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Jazz music is alive and well in 2016, and not just in the city.
“The jazz scene is simmering under the surface. I think it’s up to the artists themselves to make jazz a commodity,” commented Morrisville pianist Eric Mintel, who is back out on the road with his quartet again after recently completing a successful Northeast mini-tour of concerts accented with selections from Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Mintel reported that The Eric Mintel Quartet have a single, “King’s Journey,” coming out at the end of January, which will pave the way for a new album.
“I feel good about the way things are going. If I was younger and I was getting out more, I’d say: ‘Hey, this is a good time.’ I’m seeing good things at the Annenberg Center. I’m seeing good things at the Kimmel Center. Stylistically (jazz presenters are) all very different. Everybody’s doing a really fine job,” said Towamencin resident Michael Ricci, who operates the websites AllAboutJazz.com and JazzNearYou.com.
Jazz Near You has 52,000 subscribers in the New York City area alone, he said.
“I’m there to be their friend. I’m here to help them and be by their side,” Ricci said of the various jazz performers and presenting organizations.
Besides Temple University’s WRTI, which divides its broadcast programming evenly between classical and jazz, Ricci observed that Album Adult Alternative station WXPN is playing more jazz than they used to. “They can go from Miles Davis to a Neil Young song and not miss a beat,” he said.
•Lansdale craft brewpub Round Guys Brewing Co. has had a Jazz Jam on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 10 p.m. for more than three years. The house band is comprised of Eric Loken on vibes and saxophone, Alex Maio on drums, Patrick Fink on piano and Tim Wolfe on bass. Besides about 10 regulars that sit in with the house band, “we still get new faces from time to time. God only knows how they hear about it, but they have,” said Jazz Jam founder Mike Mahomet. “It’s led to a couple of projects, recording projects. We get some singers.”
Lansdale drummer Tim Leslie considers himself a semi-regular of the Jazz Jam. “I’ve been going out there the past two years. I go sit in with the band when I have a free Wednesday night,” he said.
Mahomet said: “The bar there is very appreciative of it. You gotta have the support of the (venue) location. There’s so few places like that (offering an open jam),” he said, also mentioning the Sunday Night Jazz Jam at Penn Taproom in Doylestown.
Also, the band The Grautet will hold a CD release party at Round Guys, starting at 9 p.m. Jan. 23.
•Located at 80 W. State St., Doylestown, Penn Taproom’s Sunday night house band is Larry Tamanini & Friends. Stay up to date at www.facebook.com/Sunday-Night-Jazz-Jam-324909304275303.
•Full-time, August Moon, 300 E. Main St., Norristown, is a contemporary Korean/Japanese cuisine restaurant. But every second Saturday of the month, there’s live jazz . Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the set running from 8 to 11. Cover is $10. Upcoming shows are the Kevin Valentine Quartet Feb. 13 and the Julie Charnet Quartet March 12.
•For 20 years, The James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, has hosted a quarterly Jazz Night series, with refreshments, wine, craft beer and an intermission to explore the galleries. Over the years, the featured acts have been local, or from the Philadelphia, Washington or New York areas, with few repeats since 1996, according to the museum’s senior director of programs, Zoriana Siokalo. There’s been international jazz, Afro-Cuban, blues-leaning jazz, jazzy folk and jazz/rock fusion.
“I think the performing arts are a natural fit for a visual arts organization,” said Siokalo. “It’s always well-attended, and usually sold out.”
Tickets are $53, $25 for students, $45 for museum members. Upcoming performances in the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion include pianist and West Chester University professor Terry Klinefelter & Friends from 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 27, and upright bassist Mike Boone & Friends 8 to 11 p.m. May 21. Both are from the Philadelphia area. Make reservations at www.michenerartmuseum.org.
•The Jazz on the Main Line series at the New Leaf, 1225 Montrose Ave., Rosemont, begins at 7:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month. Upcoming performers are Ella Gahnt Feb. 18 and Dan Wilkins March 17. Admission is $10, $5 for students.
•The Temperance House, 5 S. State St., Newtown, presents live jazz Friday and Saturday nights. Visit www.temperancehouse.com/events or call (215) 944-8050.
•The Cheltenham Concert Series at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Road, Cheltenham, is held at 7:30 p.m. every first Wednesday of the month. Upcoming performers are Andrea Carlson Feb. 3, Chris Farr March 2 and the Brandywine Valley Saxophone Choir April 6. Admission is $10, $5 for students.
•Vault Brewery and Brewpub, 10 S. Main St., Yardley, offers jazz without a cover charge Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Get a look at the schedule at www.vaultbrewing.com/jazz.
•The organ-based combo The Sermon! can be heard every first Saturday of the month at the Social Lounge, 29 E. Gay St., West Chester, and every third Friday of the month at Vudu Lounge/High Street Caffe, 322 High St., West Chester.
•Jazz Jams with a house band trio are held the second and fourth Mondays of the month at Proximity Cafe, 1450 E. High St., Pottstown.
•Enjoy a live Jazz Jam led by Matt Roman of Kind Of Blue, starting at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of every month, at the Washington House Restaurant, 136 N. Main St., Sellersville.
•Paris Bistro & Jazz Cafe in Chestnut Hill at 8229 Germantown Ave. features music Thursdays through Sundays.
Singer Paula Johns, who performs there every other month backed by the Tom Adams Trio, said that the downstairs/underground cafe is “intimate, and it looks like a jazz room in Paris.”
Her current musical project is in the Kickstarter phase — a jazz-flavored tribute to Dionne Warwick. “I have a medley of her songs that I do, and it’s been well received,” Johns said.
Other performers that have played there, that come recommended by Johns, include saxophonist Lynn Riley, and the groups FVC (Fortune Vinson Cruse) and Hot Club of Philadelphia.
Check the lineup at www.parisbistro.net/live-jazz.html.
•LifeLine Music Coalition produces a Friday Night Jazz Series at Woodmere Art Museum, which resumes Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. Cost is $22, $12 for Woodmere members, free to children under 12. Wine and refreshments will be served. The museum is at 9201 Germantown Ave., in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.
•You can catch jazz almost every day at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., Philadelphia. Call (215) 568-3131 or check www.chrisjazzcafe.com.
•One of the area’s newest venues is South, 600 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, with a jazz lineup of music on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. “Really, really nice,” Johns called South. Call (215) 600-0220 or go to www.southrestaurant.net.
•World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia, hosts a free Monday Jazz Jam at 5:30 p.m. Mondays. Each week, the house band opens the evening with two songs. After that, any musician who signs up may perform with the band. Instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome.
•Relish, 7152 Ogontz Ave., Philadelphia, has live jazz Thursdays through Saturdays. Refer to www.relishphiladelphia.com/music.html.
•Soul food restaurant Warmdaddy’s at 1400 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, has the IJazzGlobal Happy Hour, with host Michael Tozzi and live music, every Thursday. A Sunday Jazz Brunch is held 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Reservations are required for brunch by calling (215) 462-2000 or clicking the email link at www.warmdaddys.com.
•Square on Square Chinese Restaurant, 1905 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, has The All-Star Jazz Trio starting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 7 p.m. Fridays.
•WRTI’s Jeff Duperon hosts Jazz at Fellowship Hall at 7:30 p.m. every third Wednesday at Ridge Avenue United Methodist Church, 7811 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia. Upcoming performers are Josh Lawrence Feb. 17 and Dahi Devine March 16. Admission is $10, $5 for students.
•Check out jazz at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesdays of the month, as part of the Jazz Bridge Neighborhood Concerts series at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2110 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Upcoming performers are V. Shayne Frederick Feb. 10, Kendrah Butler March 9 and Wendy Simon April 13.
•Ars Nova Workshop presents postmodern swing with Mostly Other People Do the Killing at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th St., Philadelphia. Tickets for both events are $15. The Ches Smith Trio entertains during the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5 series at 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Art Museum admission cost applies. There’s more at www.arsnovaworkshop.com.
•The Allentown Jazz Fest is set for April 28-May 3. “This is a great festival that’s been building each year,” said Mintel, one of the festival’s performers this year. The lineup also features The Dirk Quinn Band, Al Chez & The Brothers of Funk, Christian Winther, Sojourne, Jo Jo Mayer, Nicole Henry and others. Venues include Miller Symphony Hall, the Allentown Art Museum, Roar Social House, The Dime, and The Hamilton. Get a closer look at www.allentownjazzfest.org.
•The Berks Jazz Fest returns April 1-10. There will be a preview concert with Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks at 7:30 p.m. March 3 at Alvernia University’s Francis Hall Theater & Recital Hall. Get the complete schedule and ticket information at www.berksjazzfest.com.