October 2, 2008 |
Referring to his 21 years in the music business, Raphael Saadiq, 42, says, "I wasn't the biggest artist, but I wasn't the smallest. " On Monday night at World Cafe Live, Saadiq and his septet were epic. Few artists have represented the scope of 20th-century African American popular music quite like Saadiq. Doo-wop, funk, Motown, the Philly sound, blues, hip-hop, gospel, new jack swing, old R&B - all can pour from him with effortless grace and precision, sometimes in the course of a single song.
September 9, 2008 |
The recipient of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award has won 10 Grammy Awards as a solo act and with 1970s funk band Rufus. And she has received what many would regard as the highest compliment a musician could garner when jazz trumpeter Miles Davis told her: "Chaka, your voice sounds like my horn. " Still, Chaka Khan, talking from a tour stop in Washington, can't disguise her pleasure in being the top honoree at this year's awards show, at the Kimmel Center tonight.
September 8, 2008 |
Not to get all cosmic or anything, but there was something magically mysterious going on at Penn's Landing Friday night during the lengthy encore that capped My Morning Jacket's grandly ambitious two-hour, 45-minute set at the Festival Pier. The weather had held up for the last night of the Pier's summer concert series. But as bearded band leader Jim James sat down with a Frisbee-shaped keyboard to trigger the slinky electronic pulse of "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2," rain started to fall.
August 23, 2008 |
In funk music or any of its cognates, cousins or relations, the power and elasticity of the groove is of utmost importance. But time, most specifically tempo, is nearly as important, as could be seen in "Still Black, Still Proud: An African Tribute to James Brown" at the Kimmel Center. When the ensemble, which combined venerable Brown sidemen with a couple of African stalwarts, got started Thursday night, the band, curiously, played "Soul Pride" at a fast pace. The groove itself was sleek, near-perfect, but its speed deprived listeners' ears - and their hips and feet - of the many nuances of the funk.
August 18, 2008 |
From the full house at Festival Pier to the full moon to the fireworks popping on the Camden side of the Delaware, it was a perfect Saturday night for a homecoming for the hip-hop and sloppy pop of Philadelphia's G. Love & Special Sauce. Even August's summer winds blew cool so not to dare mess with guitarist/harmonicat Garrett Dutton's blowsy raps and smooth vocal styling. Combine Dutton/Love's chilled-out demeanor with the density of upright bassist Jim Prescott and the cleverly clacking fills of drummer Jeff Clemens - who have been together since 1992 - and you understand how their easy, flowing funk has grown appealing to the Deadheads and Parrot Heads who filled the Pier.
July 2, 2008 |
Brett Myers was the opening-day pitcher for the Phillies on March 31. Tonight, he expects to be the starting pitcher for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Now that's a free fall. But that's how this lukewarm-and-really-cold season has gone for Myers. Once the darling of the Phillies' pitching staff, he is 3-9 with a bloated 5.84 ERA. Myers, sent down yesterday to the minor-league IronPigs to regain his pitching touch, has become the Phillies' poster boy for a star player gone bad. A relief pitcher last season, he was shocked at the demotion but said he would do anything to help his team win. "We're in a playoff race, and I have to be there to help my team," Myers said last night.
June 26, 2008 |
Come on, no complete game? No cycle? We kid, we kid. It's tough being picky at a time like this. Kyle Kendrick threw eight shutout innings and Chase Utley went 4 for 5 with a double and a triple last night in a 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum to snap the Phillies' six-game losing streak. They needed it. The Phils entered the night 3-10 since June 8 for the worst record in baseball in that span. "It was huge," Kendrick said. "Guys were joking around after we scored a run in the first inning.
June 9, 2008 |
Even when the Roots are alone on the bill, there are a whole bunch of bands on stage. This Philadelphia collective's picnic basket overflows with musical goodies. Look inside, and you'll find a full-on soul revue and an old-school rap outfit. There's a furiously shredding noise-rock band, and a tasty improvisational jazz ensemble. Not to mention an astonishingly focused hip-hop wrecking crew - leaders in bringing a genre-blending vision to life on stage. So the Roots Picnic, offered over 10 sweltering hours Saturday at the Festival Pier, was an idea whose time has come.
March 2, 2008 |
Brandon Huber was the buzz of the Philadelphia Flower Show preview yesterday, winning - at age 18 - his first blue ribbon. Not long after judges pronounced his Amorphophallus konjac tops in a hardy tuber-bulb-rhizome-corm class, Huber found himself the center of attention from a tag team of invited show visitors, all members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. They stared and giggled at his purple-brown plant, which is shaped like a phallus and not only looks bizarre but also has a smell often compared to rotting flesh.
January 30, 2008 |
Coming off back-to-back losses, Villanova doesn't figure to have things any easier tonight when the Wildcats try to snap out of their slump on the road against 18th-ranked Pittsburgh at the Petersen Events Center. The Wildcats (13-5 overall, 3-4 Big East), who fell out of the top 25 this week, need a win tonight to avoid their first losing streak of more than two games since they dropped their last five regular-season contests in the 2003-04 season. But the Panthers (16-4, 4-3)