Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock plays Verizon Hall on Oct. 10, and another perennially touring elder statesman, the 85-year-old Tony Bennett, is at the Academy on Nov. 4. (By that time, he'll be 86.) And any list of marquee jazz names in the Kimmel Presents season needs to included Esperanza Spalding, the 26-year-old bassist who beat out Justin Bieber for best new artist honors this year at the Grammy Awards. She plays the Merriam Theater on Oct. 14.
The Jazz Up Close series at the Perelman Theater will run throughout the year, starting with saxman Jimmy and his drummer brother Albert "Tootie" Heath on Oct. 15. Philadelphia jazz tradition will be celebrated further with a tribute to Benny Golson on Dec. 3. The Terrell Stafford Trio will honor Lee Morgan on Feb. 25 of next year, and Danilo Pérez and friends will play the music of McCoy Tyner on April 14. Perez will also perform with Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers Jan. 26.
Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía plays Verizon Hall on April 12, but the season is largely without heavy hitting world-music attractions. Fela!, the celebration of the life of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti that counts Philadelphia's Will Smith and The Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson among its producers, will do its best to make up the difference, when it arrives in March after a New York run that ended last year.
Fela! is the most compelling of a series of so-called jukebox musicals the Kimmel is bringing in, including Rock of Ages in October, Jersey Boys in December, and both Memphis and RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles early next year.
And if we're talking Philadelphia pop music and the Kimmel, of course, we're also talking about The Geator.
Irrepressible impresario Jerry Blavat will bring his old-time rock-and-roll and doo-wop multi-artist package show to Verizon Hall not once but twice, with bound-to-sell-out shows on Jan. 28 and April 7 next year.
Contact music critic Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at philly.com/inthemix.