April 5, 2016 |
NEW YORK - The place, the subject and the performers all buoyed Charlie Parker's Yardbird on its Friday opening at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem into the sort of event that allowed Opera Philadelphia's New York debut to be a respectable success - at least. Visiting Philadelphians crowded the seats of this grand, Old World-style, 1,500-seat theater. Much cheering greeted the conclusion. Yet the piece itself (in the company's 2015 world premiere production) felt more problematic than before.
October 5, 2013 |
Vincent R. Milando, 86, of Atlantic City, a former trumpeter and band leader, died of kidney failure Sunday, Sept. 29, at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. In the 1960s, he was the entertainment director for eight years for the Gaslight Club in Washington, and then for the Gaslight Club in Manhattan - not the folkie Gaslight in Greenwich Village - his daughter, Vinessa, said. The jobs, she said, "entailed choosing what was going to be played and who was in the band," she said.
August 9, 2013 |
In the age of WikiLeaks and NSA spying, when government contractors leak like sieves, trumpeter Roy Hargrove works hard to hold back. "I never disclose what I am going to play," he says in a conspiratorial half-rasp. "People ask me, and I don't ever tell them. It destroys the whole thing. The music is a lot better when it's more spontaneous. " Hargrove and his quintet plan to explore spontaneity on Friday night for two shows at the Philadelphia Clef Club. This is no arrogant jazzman.
August 1, 2013
Philadelphia has been home to a constellation of jazz greats, including Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie. One of its brightest stars was John Coltrane, the saxophonist who changed the trajectory of the form with his avant-garde experimentations in modal and free jazz. While Coltrane's Strawberry Mansion rowhouse was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1999, Philadelphians have not yet matched the virtuoso's imagination and energy in commemorating and capitalizing on his connection to the city.
April 23, 2013
By Suzanne Cloud When Jay Wahl, director of public events at the Kimmel Center, called to tell me my proposal to do a show about Dizzy Gillespie's gig at the Downbeat Club in November 1941 had been accepted for this year's Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), my knees went watery. What had I gotten myself into? The last play I'd written, an adaptation of Ben Jonson's 17th-century, five-act comedy Bartholomew Fair , was performed only once. Clocking in at four hours, the reading at the old Painted Bride on South Street should have required attendees to bring a sleeping bag. But, as I have always embraced writer Ralph Ellison's suggestion to "opt for that psychic uncertainty" needed to achieve one's full potential as an artist and human being, I decided to return to the boards.
April 12, 2013
FAMILY International Orchid Show You knew we had the world's largest indoor flower show. Well, we've got the third biggest orchid show, too. On its first foray into Center City, the exhibit transforms dioramas into lush botanical arrays and teaches guests useful and amazing nuggets about these notoriously beautiful plants. Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Ben Franklin Pkwy., 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, $13-$15, 215-299-1000, ansp.org. Philadelphia Antiques Show Did ya know you could blow the cost of a small rowhouse on a tall armoire?
April 5, 2013
BEBOP, the jazz subgenre that replaced the elegant melodies of big-band music with more angular and cacophonous motifs, didn't really gain a foothold until after World War II. But its roots date back almost a decade before. And some of those roots grew smack-dab in the heart of Center City. That's the inspiration behind "Last Call at the Downbeat," which, this weekend and next, has its world premiere at Society Hill Playhouse as part of the monthlong Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
June 20, 2012 |
For a man who started out blowing the trombone for Woody Herman, Jerry Dorn's professional career took some unusual turns. From music, he dropped in on the haberdashery business, then found his true calling: teaching kids and adults how to speak well. To get Philadelphians to say, "How now brown cow," without that nasalized Philly twang, was a challenge, but Jerry met it. He once told an interviewer, "Vowels are the music of speech. My goal is to teach my students to become better listeners so that they can hear themselves as others hear them.
October 3, 2011 |
THIS TOWN has laid claim to many a jazz legend - from John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie on down - and it used to be crawling with night spots where the talents could hone their chops. Today, you can count the clubs on one hand. Yet, there are still "at least 500 jazz musicians in the area, of all ages, trying to find work. " So says Suzanne Cloud, executive director and co-founder of the Jazz Bridge Project, now Philadelphia's most prolific nonprofit presenter of jazz and blues.
July 15, 2011
Philly Celebrates Philly Joe Jones Philly Joe Jones was a monster local drummer who hit the skins as the house rhythmatist at Cafe Society, worked as the driving maelstrom of the first classic Miles Davis Quintet, and jammed with a godly roster of bop's finest - Fats Navarro, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie among others. When he got bored with bop and tired of the straight drum-driven jazz that fueled his own albums, he moved abroad and slammed sticks for the avant-garde likes of Archie Shepp.