Here are my belated picks for jazz in Philly this month:

Calvin Weston’s Big Tree
Calvin Weston (drums, trumpet); Elliott Levin (reeds); Tom Spiker (bass); Brian Marsella (keyboards)
daniel peterson, woodwinds; mike barber, bass; toshi makihara, drums
Grass Hair Duo
zachariah leeds, drums; heath watts, soprano saxophone
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Apr 11 (Wed) — 8 pm — Free

Calvin Weston’s Big Tree

I’ve never gotten the chance to see this group, but they’ve built up quite a rep. here in Philly. And what better time to check ’em out than a free show with a big lineup…

Avishai Cohen
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Apr 13 — 5:45-6:45 & 7:15-8:15 pm — $12 (free for members, students $8)

Avishai Cohen

Cohen will be touring in support of his upcoming CD/DVD release, As Is…Live at The Blue Note (HalfNote/RazDaz Records). I find that most of the performances put on at the PMA are subpar. Even ones that look promising (I saw Dave Burrell there last year) tend to be overly smoothed out. But if you’re a member, or were thinking of visiting the museum anyway, you might as well throw in some jazz by a well respected artist.

Peter Brötzmann, saxophones & clarinets; Marino Pliakas, guitar; Michael Wertmüller, drums
Community Education Center [CEC], 3500 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia
Apr 14 (Sat) — 8 pm — $12

Peter Brotzmann

This is an ars nova workshop production, which is always a good sign. And if you’re not spooked out by free jazz, this is probably my top pick for the month. Brötzmann has been playing his own unique free music since the late 1960s. Many of the recordings of his that we have up in the station would make you think that he is nothing but a wailer, using his horns to make expressive noise on solo and ensemble recordings. But the two times I have seen him live, you get something totally different. When you can see the man at his craft, walking up and down the stage swinging his horn like an R&B crooner, you get a very different sense of the music. When you see it live, the soul comes out.

Voltage Spooks

Voltage Spooks: keith rowe, electronics; rick reed, electronics; michael haleta, electronics
+ a panel discussion with Rowe, Jon Abbey (Erstwhile Records) and Brian Olewnick (current Rowe biographer)

Slought Foundation— 4017 Walnut St, Philadelphia
Apr 14 (Sat) — 8 pm (discussion at 7pm ) — $10

Keith Rowe

I’ve never heard of Voltage Spooks and there’s not a whole lot of information on the web. But we do have a couple of Keith Rowe’s albums up at the station and they’re interesting, avant-garde electronic stuff that would probably be a lot more interesting if you saw it live. For music as noise, it always comes together better if you can see it being created. And the Slought Foundation is a great way to catch a show…

Horns of Hathor
— Horns of Hathor: Pauline Oliveros, electronics/accordian; Ione, voice
— with special guests Roscoe Mitchell, reeds; Samir Chatterjee, tabla
— SoundExchange_2007
— an ars nova workshop and American Composers Forum presentation
— Studio Theatre, 3680 Walnut St, Philadelphia
Apr 20 (Fri) — 8 pm

Roscoe Mitchell

Everything I can find about Horns of Hathor makes them seem pretty far out there, with accordion, spoken word and G-d knows what else. But if they’ve got Roscoe Mitchell, the damn near legendary saxophonist of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, then they must be doing something right. At the very least it’ll be a trip.