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.
October 15, 2012
John Tchicai, 76, a Danish saxophonist and pioneer of free jazz in Europe, died Oct. 8, said his former wife, Margriet Naber. No cause of death was given, but he had been in a coma since suffering a brain hemorrhage in June. Mr. Tchicai moved to New York in 1963 and cofounded the New York Contemporary Five with Archie Shepp. He later became a leading figure of the jazz avant-garde movement in Europe. He also played with John Coltrane, Milford Graves, Carla Bley, and Steve Swallow. Mr. Tchicai was born to a Danish mother and a Congolese father in Denmark.
August 26, 2012 |
Byard Lancaster, 70, the Philadelphia jazz musician who earned an international reputation as an avant-garde musical explorer in the 1960s and 1970s, died of cancer Thursday, Aug. 23, at KeystoneCare in Wyndmoor, according to his sister, Mary Ann Lancaster Tyler. In the decades that followed his early fame, he became a local institution, playing saxophone and flute on the streets, in subway concourses, and at clubs around the city. Mr. Lancaster played alto, soprano, and tenor saxophones, as well as flute, clarinet, and piano.
April 15, 2011 |
Sam Beam has taken Iron & Wine in directions far removed from the hushed acoustic settings of his early albums. "It's like food: Why eat only one type of food when there's so many different types to try?" Beam asks, trying to explain. Beloved for the sparse intimacies of home-recorded The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002) and the slightly more fleshed-out Our Endless Numbered Days (2004), Beam expanded his palette by collaborating with Calexico for 2005's In the Reins.
November 23, 2010
I T REALLY RUBS me the wrong way when small-minded politicians cut off their noses and end up spiting not only their own faces - but ours, too. The recent reversal of fortune for state Rep. Dwight Evans of West Oak Lane as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee at the hands of at least two local Democrats is bad for the entire city. There was a time when I wouldn't set foot - or car - in West Oak Lane. Especially Ogontz Avenue, where pothole-filled streets were hazardous to any set of wheels.
June 28, 2010
Fred Anderson, 81, a tenor saxophonist who tied the bebop innovations of Charlie Parker to the explorations of later avant-garde musicians and who owned the Velvet Lounge, a South Side Chicago club known for fostering the careers of emerging players, died Thursday. Mr. Anderson was admitted to a hospital June 12 in Evanston, Ill., complaining of stomach pains. He suffered a heart attack June 14 and, afterward, his son Eugene told the Chicago Tribune, was comatose and unlikely to recover.
October 2, 2009 |
When Philly DJ and producer Diplo (Wesley Pentz) was in South Africa a few years ago, he asked around to find out what was happening in the underground music scene. Someone pointed Diplo in the direction of Johannesburg's BLK JKS (pronounced "blackjacks"), and intrigued by a song on their MySpace page, he arranged to meet them for an hour at the airport as he was leaving the country. That meeting led to the tour that comes to Philadelphia on Saturday night. "To cut a long story short, those events meant other people heard about us - his people, his friends - and we met people through him. And eventually people know people who know people, and we ended up here," BLK JKS guitarist Mpumi Mcata said with a laugh.
May 25, 2009 |
A man of many talents and as many names, Will Oldham is at once folksy and gnomic, a bearded oracle of the sacred and profane. At the Trocadero on Friday night, he moved between matters earthly and spiritual, often, as in "There Is Something I Have to Say," letting them overlap. "Can we find communion again?" he sang. "In the bedroom, or just as friends. " During his early career in the 1990s, Oldham shifted identities with nearly every recording: Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, just plain Palace.
February 17, 2009 |
The record business is a sinkhole no matter which way you turn. But in this troubled economy, Moppa Elliott chose an especially tough path: playing in an avant-garde bop band named Mostly Other People Do the Killing, and starting his own tiny jazz label, Hot Cup. Elliott, 30, a bassist/composer born in Factoryville, says, "Look, we're just a couple of over-schooled jazz guys who want to play. The problem is that most jazz is not only boring and bad, but irrelevant. " The mission of MOPDtK: Make valid 21st-century jazz that his label will release.
October 28, 2008 |
Competing with a World Series home game on a night of wind and rain, the San Francisco quartet Deerhoof managed to fill only about a quarter of the Starlight Ballroom on Saturday. But the band's spastic, high-impact art-rock easily filled the rest of the room, veering from jittery freakouts to thoughtful tangents with little notice yet eerie precision. To the uninitiated, a Deerhoof show might sound like a sound check gone horribly wrong, all shrieks and blurts and shrapnel. But to anyone who has followed the band over more than 10 albums in the last dozen years, it's more like pop played as free jazz, full of happy chaos and wowing dynamics.