October 9, 2014 |
Saxophonist Steve Coleman swore that he was so far under the underground that few outside his community of fellow performers appreciated his idiosyncratic approach to music. For the Allentown horn player who could be inspired by circulatory systems and bird calls, no sound is off-limits. But evidently, someone has been listening. Last month, Coleman was roused out of bed by a phone call from the MacArthur Foundation. He had won what is known as a "genius grant," a $650,000 prize awarded over five years.
September 24, 2014 |
Tuesday, Sept. 23, would have been John Coltrane's 88th birthday. And there's a big Coltrane panel Tuesday at Temple University. Resonance Records will be there, along with Temple people and the Ars Nova Workshop. But there's more than a birthday to celebrate. There's a just-released recording of a legendary Coltrane concert at Temple in 1966, eight months before his death. Resonance has just released Offering: Live at Temple University , a restored, often-bootlegged recording of the saxophone colossus and onetime Philly resident at his spiritual and improvisational peak.
September 23, 2014 |
GIGANTIC dinosaur bones aren't the only things being dug up by Philadelphia archaeologists. A late-life recording by Philly-based saxophonist John Coltrane was recently discovered in the archives at Temple University by scholar Yasuhiro Fujioka, then dusted off for much-belated release by Resonance Records. And tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., on what would have been Coltrane's 88th birthday, the album will be debuted and discussed in a free-admission gab session at Temple's Paley Library, 1210 Polett Walk, sponsored by Ars Nova Workshop.
June 7, 2014 |
Since making her full-length album debut in 1993 with Plantation Lullabies , Meshell Ndegeocello has undergone more musical and lyrical changes than Cher has costumes. Gender- and genre-bending, she has ripped through ever-hazier shades of avant-pop and soul in her most recent albums, the salty jazz and decadent rock of 2012's Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone , and the oddly layered dub/dance-hall pop of 2014's Comet, Come to Me . Does she even recognize the woman and the artist she started out as, considering all her changes?
May 2, 2014 |
Since his start in the late 1970s on the Los Angeles creative improvisational music scene, guitarist Nels Cline has moved among avant-garde jazz, noise rock, and crepuscular ambient sound. He may be best known for joining the alt-Americana ensemble Wilco in 2004. But his wide-ranging explorations continue, including Brazilian esoterica and dissonance with the CD Macroscope by the Nels Cline Singers. Cline has an especially close relationship with Mark Christman's Ars Nova Workshop (ANW)
October 16, 2013 |
While John Coltrane's influence is pervasive in the last half-century of jazz history, only tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders could be considered a Coltrane apostle. Sanders was a member of the saxophonist's band during the last two years of Coltrane's life as he pushed into the furthest reaches of the avant-garde, and Sanders continued making his own music in a similar vein, combining explosive freedom and spiritual purpose. Leading a quartet at Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, the night before his 73d birthday, Sanders continued to carry the torch for his mentor, with more than half the set consisting of pieces composed by or associated with Coltrane.
April 12, 2013 |
IF YOU COULD make it at Spider Kelly's, you had already made it in the Philly jazz scene. After all, John Coltrane played there, as well as organist Jimmy Smith and numerous other local luminaries at a time ('50s and '60s) when Philadelphia was the place to be for the best in jazz. It was a tough crowd. A piano player kept a bottle of wine and a pistol under his piano. The denizens expected only the best in their kind of music, and they got it. The likes of Louis Jordan and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, playing at the nearby Earle Theatre, came by to scoop up talent for their bands.
March 15, 2013 |
NORMAN GADSON bought John Coltrane's old house in Strawberry Mansion in 2004 from Mary "Cousin Mary" Alexander, a relative of the jazz saxophonist. Not long after, he'd call up musicians in the city and ask them to come over to jam in 'Trane's house. Lenora Early, Gadson's widow, said her husband, a fervent jazz fan, intended to fix up the house and open it as a jazz venue. "He just loved jazz," Early said of Gadson. But he died in 2007, before he could restore the house, on 33rd Street near Oxford.
February 12, 2013 |
When Chris' Jazz Cafe announced in November that it would host comedy nights, musical purists groused. How dare Center City's only for-profit jazz club bring another art form into that hallowed space? Chris' booking agent, Alan McMahon, joked that the event would be a welcome change. "The club presents over 500 jazz shows a year and will continue to," McMahon wrote in an e-mail at the time. "A little comedy will be good for all. " That first stand-up show was packed, and in December McMahon sent a second e-mail saying that Chris would expand into different sounds that complemented its jazz aesthetic.
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.