Concert Previews

Jason Marsalis performs Saturday at Chris' Jazz Cafe.
Jason Marsalis performs Saturday at Chris' Jazz Cafe. (BRADEN PIPER)
Posted: April 12, 2013

Hugh Masekela

South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela has a sound that bellows as loudly and proudly as his opinion. Known for his radical and personal outspoken political commentary against apartheid (his "Bring Him Back Home" was an African national anthem during the Free Nelson Mandela movement), his jazz voice is generally less harsh and more radiant in approach and subject matter. Even if you forgo his peppy '60s chart smash "Grazing in the Grass" (and why would you?), his oeuvre is rich with pop-timistic, bright, and brassy tones. He packs a mean wallop when it comes to heavy-duty dance music, as evidenced by 1984's Technobush. One of Masekela's most joyous albums is his most recent, 2012's Jabulani, inspired by the South African wedding traditions of his childhood. No matter the era or voice, there's plenty to love throughout Hugh Masekela's entire catalog.

- A.D. Amorosi

Hugh Masekela plays at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St. Tickets: $20-$70. Information: 215-898-3900,

Jason Marsalis

Although he's now 36 and has played in professional jazz bands since his early teens, Jason Marsalis seems forever destined to be introduced as "the youngest Marsalis brother." (He always will be, of course - it's the youth that maybe gets too much stress.) That's what happens when one follows in the family business, in Marsalis' case the New Orleans jazz dynasty begun by his father Ellis (piano) and continued by his brothers Branford (saxophone), Wynton (trumpet), and Delfeayo (trombone). Jason's first instrument was drums, and he still sits behind the kit in Marcus Roberts' acclaimed trio. But as a bandleader, he's switched to vibraphone, inspired by the work of the great Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson. His newest release, which brings the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet to Chris' Jazz Cafe on Saturday, is In a World of Mallets, and it showcases Marsalis' inventive sense of swing and sly sense of humor.

- Steve Klinge

The Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet plays 8 p.m. Saturday at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. Tickets: $25. Information: 215-568-3131,

Travel Lanes

 After making his mark with Flight of Mavis and Buzz Zeemer, Frank Brown is back with Travel Lanes. On the local quartet's terrific debut EP, Hey, Hey, It's Travel Lanes!, the singer, guitarist, and songwriter shows he's lost none of his gift for the kind of crisply melodic songcraft and intelligent writing that marked the well-regarded work of his earlier bands. Bookends "Scared of Girls" and "Let You Down" rock with a tough edge, while numbers such as "Rainy Day" and "Intervention" bring a slightly sweeter and poppier side to the fore. And fitting seamlessly among the six Brown originals is a cover of the Ramones' "She's the One."

- Nick Cristiano

Travel Lanes, with Shark Tape, play at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Milkboy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St. Tickets: $8-$10. Information:, 215-925-6455.

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