November 23, 2010 |
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.
May 6, 2007 |
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.
April 13, 2007 |
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.
February 8, 2003 |
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.
January 8, 2003 |
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.
July 23, 2002 |
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.
June 22, 2002 |
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.
June 21, 2002 |
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.
June 20, 2002 |
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.
April 18, 2002 |
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.