"I'm a little black girl will rock your world, so come move with me," wails Danielia Cotton on the lead track of her new, sophomore set, "Rare Child." The words are true and so's the album's title: Cotton is the real deal, an all-bases-covered talent.
While diminutive in size, she's a giant of a singer, with such searing, incendiary heat she could light your ears on fire. Better still, Cotton the songwriter goes everywhere her voice can, blending elements of rock, soul, gospel and folk with conviction and purpose.
Cotton hails from Hopewell, N.J., and was one of just seven black students in her junior high. She became just as immersed in her classmates' favorite classic rock bands as she was in the music she performed in her church gospel choir or heard at home (Mavis, Etta, Billie, Ella) from her jazz-singing mother. Yeah, good taste comes in lots of flavors.
Showgoers should also like the worthy and well-named opening act, the Alternate Routes, sharing Cotton's regional homecoming party.
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 tonight, $25-$35, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
- Jonathan Takiff
From ABBA on down to Robyn and melancholy chanteuses like El Perro Del Mar, Sweden's the longtime capital of smart dance pop. Karin Strom is a little bit of both. While largely unknown outside her native country, she's produced and written her own music (a cross between '80s synth-pop like Yaz and singer-songwriters like Feist) since 2004. Arts/culture/media blog Philebrity is hosting her Philadelphia debut at the "Being True" photo exhibit at 222 Gallery, followed by an afterparty at National Mechanics with the Resurrection DJs.
222 Gallery, 222 Vine St., 6-9 tonight, free, all ages, 215-873-0750. National Mechanics, 22 S. 3rd St., 9 tonight, free, 215-701-4883, www.philebrity.com.
- Sara Sherr
A collection of hard-working emcees and singers will help Nickelz celebrate the release of his latest set, "The Mint." He's working the hustle science with Hedonis da Amazon, Hollowman, Verso, A.Dot, R&B duo L&S and live band Natural Selection.
It says right here that, pound-for-pound, Hedonis is one of the top five emcees in the city. She has appeared on many reality-based rap shows, included VH1's "Driven." Her latest mixtape, "Live From Hot 97 Featuring Kay Slay" is still in heavy rotation among hip-hop purists.
The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 9 tonight, $5 ($10 with CD), 21+, 267-671-9298, www.iourecords.com/thefire.
- Damon C. Williams
The name Trio 3 may sound redundant, but when the three in question are saxophonist Oliver Lake, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille, little else needs to be said. The group has reunited for a 20th anniversary of their always-fruitful collaboration.
All three came of musical age in the fertile free-jazz environment of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lake was a co-founder of the World Saxophone Quartet, which recently marked its 30th anniversary; Philly native Workman made his name playing with John Coltrane in the early '60s and has since accompanied a who's-who of jazz legends and led his own innovative projects; and among his many collaborations, Cyrille boasts a relationship with legendary pianist Cecil Taylor that lasted well over a decade. Expect powerhouse playing - not to be missed.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway, 5:45 and 7:15 tonight, free with regular museum admission of $14, 215-763-8100, www.philamuseum.org.
- Shaun Brady
Most of us hear Jack Moore's voice regularly on WRTI-FM, but away from the microphone, he can be seen conducting the Ambler Symphony, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia and the Olney Symphony. He has made appearances as far away as Bulgaria, Russia and Czechoslovakia.
The multitalented Moore will lead the Ambler Symphony tonight in Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours," Verdi's scorching Overture to "La Forza del Destino," Alfven's "Swedish Rhapsody" and a medley from Cole Porter's "Can-Can." His guests are three marvelous voices from the Academy of Vocal Arts - soprano Ariya Sawadivong, tenor Cody Austin and baritone alumnus Eric Dubin - in arias by Verdi, Leoncavallo and Romberg.
Wissahickon High School Auditorium, 521 Houston Road, Ambler, 7:30 tonight, $12, 215-591-9501, www.amblersymphony.org.