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Mellon Jazz Festival

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NEWS
March 21, 1990 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
Forget that this is only the second day of spring. If last week's record- breaking temperatures didn't convince you that summer will soon be here, this might: The headliners have been announced for this year's Mellon Jazz Festival concerts at the Academy of Music. Miles Davis, George Benson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Red Rodney, Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny, McCoy Tyner and Cleo Laine will be among the performers to appear at eight academy events during the bash that runs from June 15 to June 24. Musicians to perform at smaller city venues and free Mellon events will be named by festival organizers on April 18. The Painted Bride Art Center already has announced that it will host a Mellon-sponsored klezmer concert by clarinetist Don Byron on June 16. In all, Mellon representatives say, there will be about 40 events under the Mellon banner.
NEWS
June 21, 1988 | By Jack Lloyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
Folks can talk about the generation gap all they want, but two outstanding artists - separated by numerous generations - joined forces last night as the Mellon Jazz Festival rolled on at the Academy of Music and they combined for a rapport that obviously delighted the capacity audience. On the one hand, there was the legendary Lionel Hampton, who at the age of 75 is still going strong, cranking out the joyful, brassy brand of jazz he is known for and, yes, even still kicking up his heels.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 1988 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
It has become an annual ritual for local jazz fans. The arrival of summer means "Relax, it's Mellon time. " This year's Mellon Jazz Festival will offer the opportunity to hear Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Horace Silver, Bobby McFerrin, B.B. King and dozens of other luminaries, all within the space of 10 days. The annual extravaganza - which begins Friday with free concerts at JFK Plaza and Penn's Landing - is the third sponsored by Mellon Bank and the sixth that New York-based impresario George Wein has produced here since 1982 (his first three Philadelphia ventures were produced under the Kool banner)
NEWS
June 20, 1989 | By Tom Moon, Inquirer Popular-Music Critic
Performing in a Mellon Jazz Festival showcase last night at the Trocadero, 18-year-old Philadelphia keyboardist Joey DeFrancesco did little to play down the child-prodigy tag that follows him wherever he goes. During the first of two sets, DeFrancesco used the Hammond organ to command his group through a well-selected collection of originals and jazz standards. He unleashed rapid-fire, whiz-kid lines that reflected a thorough knowledge of the jazz vocabulary. And if that were not enough, he closed the set with a credible, affectionate imitation of his former employer Miles Davis - playing smooth Miles-like lines over the Thelonious Monk blues "Blue Monk" on the trumpet.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 1, 1990 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
It's happened every summer since 1986, the year of the first Mellon Jazz Festival. For 10 days beginning in mid-June, the festival presents upwards of 40 concerts on a staggering number of area stages. After the last notes have faded and the attendance figures have been toted up, George Wein, the festival's producer, and Mellon Bank East, its corporate sponsor, pronounce the event a resounding success. Wein even goes so far as to predict an encore the following summer. In good corporate fashion, Mellon then hedges a bit, and explains that the decision on whether to continue funding the jazz festival must be delayed until fall, when the bank's annual budget is drawn up. This year's Mellon Jazz Festival, which ended last Sunday, followed this familiar scenario.
NEWS
April 18, 1990 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
Area jazz fans have known for weeks which acts will headline this year's Mellon Jazz Festival: Miles Davis, George Benson and Bobby McFerrin will perform at the Academy of Music during the June 15-24 extravaganza. So will Mel Torme, Cleo Laine, Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Billy Eckstine. But based on the last four annual Mellon events, local jazz buffs also know that big-ticket Academy concerts aren't what provide the festival atmosphere every summer.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 15, 1990 | By Bill Kent, Special to The Inquirer
It's time to play "love that bank. " The folks at Mellon Bank, the same people who helped save the Lit Brothers building and turned off the PSFS sign, have a fabulous jazz festival for us all. Beginning at noon today, the Mellon Jazz Festival will make Philadelphia the city for jazz, with simultaneous free concerts by the A.S.A.P. Octet at Commerce Square, 20th & Market Streets, and the All Philadelphia High School Jazz Ensemble at JFK Plaza, 15th Street and Kennedy Boulevard.
NEWS
March 30, 1989 | By Francis Davis, Special to The Inquirer
Along with the balmy temperatures this week, another sure sign that summer isn't far off was the announcement yesterday of the lineup for this year's Mellon Jazz Festival. The 10-day extravaganza will present such headliners as Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, David Sanborn, Grover Washington Jr. and Spyro Gyra. Though the festival proper doesn't begin until June 16, there will be a sneak preview of sorts on May 19: a Mellon Jazz Festival-sponsored dance to benefit the Opportunities Industrialization Center on its 25th anniversary.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 16, 1987 | By NELS NELSON, Daily News Jazz Columnist
Doc Cheatham had been a member of Cab Calloway's trumpet section for going on five years when bassist Milt Hinton joined the band in 1936 as a temporary replacement for Al Morgan, who had resigned for reasons nobody remembers. "Cab was on the way back from making a movie, 'The Singing Kid,' with Al Jolson," Hinton recalled the other day. "I was working with Art Tatum and Zutty Singleton at the Three Deuces in Chicago, and he hired me until he could get to New York and find somebody permanent.
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NEWS
November 23, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
George Townes, 89, a jazz vocalist, died of heart failure Monday, Nov. 15, at his home in University City. When he sang the lyrics to one of his favorite tunes, "A Song for You" - "I've been so many places in my life and time. I've sung a lot of songs" - Mr. Townes could have been describing his own career. He performed at the Mellon Jazz Festival and at area jazz clubs including Deja View in West Philadelphia, Ortlieb's on Third Street, Pierre's at the Adam's Mark, and La Rose in Germantown and for benefits for Jazz Bridge, a nonprofit that assists area musicians.
NEWS
May 6, 2007 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Popular Philadelphia jazz and blues vocalist Zan Gardner of Merion Station, who gave soul and righteous feeling to her music, died Tuesday evening, one day before her 59th birthday. She was on her way to have dinner with a friend when, according to police, a minivan broadsided her Chevrolet Trailblazer at Cheltenham Avenue and Ivy Hill Road. She was pronounced dead of head trauma at Chestnut Hill Hospital one hour later, said Officer Raul Malveiro, a Philadelphia police spokesman.
NEWS
April 13, 2007 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Tyrone Hill, 58, of North Philadelphia, a powerful trombonist whose expressive big sound broke out of the Sun Ra Arkestra pack for three decades, died of heart failure March 11 at his aunt's home in East Mount Airy following the burial of his mother. Born in North Philadelphia and raised around 17th and York Streets, Mr. Hill started playing the trombone in music class at Gillespie Middle School. He listened to saxophonist John Coltrane jamming with musicians such as Sherman Ferguson and Middie Middleton on the street in his neighborhood.
NEWS
February 8, 2003 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Philadelphia, the birthplace of McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan and other heroes of hard bop, no longer has a jazz festival. Mellon Financial Corp. announced Thursday that, for the first time since 1986, it would not underwrite the summer jazz event that once brought hundreds of performers to the region for 10 days of music. In its place, the company will sponsor 15 jazz events year-round at the Kimmel Center, as well as concerts at the Art Museum and various community venues. "What we're doing is changing the way Mellon positions jazz in the marketplace to be all year long," Paul S. Beideman, chairman of Mellon Mid-Atlantic, said yesterday.
NEWS
January 8, 2003 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Rev. Earnest Hopkins, 79, of West Oak Lane, a minister, retired deputy sheriff, and talented saxophonist who played at jazz clubs in Philadelphia and in Kathmandu, Nepal, died of a heart attack Jan. 1 at Albert Einstein Medical Center. An earthy player who was steeped in the blues, Mr. Hopkins could also "blow great gales of modern bop," according to one music critic. His daughter Jacqueline Jackson said her father played the clarinet and organ, as well as the sax and the keyboard, and he also sang.
NEWS
July 23, 2002 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Evelyn Simms, 71, a jazz singer who entertained in local clubs for half a century, died of complications from asthma Saturday in her South Philadelphia home. Critics compared her sly, seductive, style to Bessie Smith's and Billie Holiday's, but Ms. Simms never got the exposure to become famous. After her marriage to saxophone player Lonnie Shaw in 1954, five babies kept her from traveling with Erskine Hawkins, Cat Anderson and other bands. Ms. Simms, who devoted herself to her family, didn't need national recognition to feel appreciated.
NEWS
June 22, 2002 | By Kevin L. Carter FOR THE INQUIRER
From the beginning of Philadelphia-born trumpeter Wallace Roney's second set at Zanzibar Blue Thursday night, it was clear that he and his "All-Star" band of luminaries came to work hard for the Mellon Jazz Festival. From the first tune, with drummer Lenny White marshaling the players like a drill sergeant, Roney's dynamic, incisive, ice-blue horn played second fiddle, so to speak, only to the ensemble's democratic, all-business style. Roney showed himself capable of playing with fire or subtlety, often both at the same time.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2002 | By Nathaniel Friedman FOR THE INQUIRER
This summer's Mellon Jazz Festival has fewer days, acts and venues, but there's an upswing in star power. While past festivals took nominal risks with lesser-known or more-challenging artists, 2002's lineup sports more than a few names that should be familiar to even the most casual listener. The Keswick Theatre's presentation of guitarists John Scofield and Charlie Hunter tonight epitomizes this year's crossover ethic. Scofield, whose loose-limbed, organic lines defined jazz guitar in the wake of fusion's heady implosion, has spent the last four years mining a jam-band vibe.
NEWS
June 20, 2002 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Eddie Palmieri, the Latin pianist and bandleader performing Saturday at the Mann Center as part of the Mellon Jazz Festival, is a detail guy. Where many of his peers describe music in abstracts, the diminutive recipient of seven Grammy Awards and proud father of more than 50 albums is happiest when he's lost under the hood, pondering the hoses and gaskets. The self-described "last of the salsa Mohicans" is fascinated by the inner workings of things, and may be among the few remaining veterans capable of explaining the process of combustion by which a Latin orchestra fills a dance floor.
NEWS
April 18, 2002 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Meet the Incredible Shrinking Jazz Festival. In its 17th annual edition, the Mellon Jazz Festival, once a 10-day event that brought scores of world-class talents to Philadelphia, will be a miniaturized four-day affair with a modest list of headliners. Among the missing at the June 20-23 bash, which last year ran two days longer and offered many more club dates, is the traditional Philadelphia-musician honoree. Instead, Mellon will give WRTI-FM (90.1) DJ Bob Perkins its first Community Award for his contribution to jazz in the region.
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