January 22, 1988 |
I warned JoAnne Brackeen - not too seriously, mind you - that if she let this Chi Kung business get around, some smartass would begin calling her the Shirley MacLaine of jazz. She gave a little giggle and said, "Friends have been telling me this since I was very young. " Let me tell you about JoAnne and me. In the last dozen years we have had three conversations - two of them by telephone. Each exchange began as though it had immediately followed the previous one. I imagine it is the same with this remarkable musician and all of her friends, for she is truly a child of the cosmos, connected irrevocably with every other soul in the universe.
December 2, 2012
A sharp intellectual and neighborhood champion, former City Councilman Edward A. Schwartz died last week at age 69. Swept into office in 1983, when Philadelphia elected its first African American mayor, W. Wilson Goode, Schwartz brought his unique brand of community activism into City Hall. An early adapter to computers, he set up a clunky one in Council chambers for mid-1980s budget hearings so he could analyze the administration's math. He used the Internet to organize grassroots activists and spread the reach of his Institute for the Study of Civic Values, which he founded in 1973.
November 17, 2001 |
Brad Mehldau plays jazz piano with the sensibility of a painter. He rarely attacks anything hard, the way some of his brethren do, to demand attention. Instead, he flicks at his melodies, dabbing here and there, brushing the keys to leave the faintest of impressions. His lines scurry and sneak around corners, and when he's finished with one of his long, dream-sequence phrases, it may not be possible to recall every twist in the path, but you know you just visited someplace beautiful.
January 30, 2003 |
Russell C. Tibbetts, 74, a retired insurance executive, barbershop quartet singer, and a jazz pianist, died Saturday of cancer at his home in Upper Providence, Delaware County. A native of Squantum, Mass., Mr. Tibbetts began playing jazz piano as a student at North Quincy High School. He continued to play while earning a bachelor's degree at Boston University. While serving in the Army in Japan after World War II, he played in the Officers' Club and for a drum-and-bugle corps. In the 1940s, he began his business career as a field salesman with Standard Accident Insurance Co. in Boston and moved to Philadelphia in the 1950s to work for Reliance Insurance Co. He retired in 1988 as president of Reliance Special Risk, a Reliance subsidiary.
April 6, 2016 |
Charlie Puth may be a 24-year-old, piano-pounding pop sensation from Rumson, N.J., whose roots go as far back as ... YouTube, and whose gossipy connections include rumored hookups with Selena Gomez, but the songs he writes and the sounds he makes are the workings of a very old soul. At least one older than Gomez. While Puth's lyrics reference the ageless pains of romance and smooth R&B legends ("Marvin Gaye"), his buoyant melodies - on full display at a sold-out-to-the-rafters show at South Street's Theatre of Living Arts on Monday night - nod to quintessentially classic pop perfectionists Billy Joel, Todd Rundgren and George Gershwin.
April 14, 2012 |
George Mesterhazy, 58, of Cape May, a Hungarian-born, Grammy-nominated jazz musician, died at home in his sleep early Thursday of what longtime life partner Vicki Watson called natural causes. Mesterhazy's selfless attitude when playing and composing music made him the perfect fit for renowned jazz singers for decades. He translated this musical quality into everyday life, leaving a legacy of generosity on and off the bandstand. "He is, by far, the most inspirational piano player I've ever worked with," said cabaret and jazz singer Paula Johns, with whom Mesterhazy worked for more than 20 years.
June 18, 1986 |
Mel Torme, probably the most musicianly jazz singer ever, will be 60 on Sept. 13. That's a month to the day after George Shearing, who knows his way around the jazz piano as well as anyone, turns 67. Together, they have accumulated more than 100 years as professional musicians. And it showed last night in "An Evening with Mel Torme and George Shearing," the first Academy of Music concert in the Mellon Jazz Festival. Torme and Shearing mesh like Cagney & Lacey, Stiller & Meara, bagels and cream cheese.
January 31, 2013 |
Jef Lee Johnson, 54, a Philadelphia guitar virtuoso who played with musicians from McCoy Tyner to Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey and who was renowned for his command of a variety of styles, died Monday, Jan. 28. He died at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, said his brother, James. The cause was complications from pneumonia and diabetes, according to his Belgium-based management company. "He was a soft-spoken genius that made every musician around him better," the Philadelphia trombonist and bandleader Jeff Bradshaw said.
February 7, 1997 |
Song and dance are the twin roots of music. Good vibrations of the vocal cords are apt to set idle toes tapping. No need to take this on faith, though. You can hear it for yourself during Swarthmore College's FebFest, which begins tonight and continues through the month. Classical music old and new, folk and jazz will be featured. In addition to concerts and recitals, there will be lectures and workshops. Most events are free. At tonight's concert, that wondrously versatile soprano Benita Valente will take the stage with James Freeman and Orchestra 2001 to perform Earl Kim's Exercises en route, settings of four poems by Samuel Beckett.
February 15, 1991 |
Ellis Marsalis and Marcus Roberts both play jazz piano, and there the resemblance ends. Marsalis is 56, an esteemed music educator and father of six sons, four of whom are musicians. They are saxophonist Branford, 29; trumpeter Wynton, 28; trombonist-producer Delfeayo, 25, and drummer Jason, 13. Roberts is 27 and single, and one of the premier young pianists in the business. He played in Wynton Marsalis' band for five years until he went out on his own last year. Roberts and the elder Marsalis are paired tonight in a concert kicking off the 3rd annual Presidential Jazz Weekend at the WHYY Forum Theater.