April 18, 2014 |
AS RENOWNED AS the Barnes Foundation is for its collection of artwork by masters like Cezanne, van Gogh, and Monet, it's equally famous for the idiosyncratic way that Dr. Albert Barnes arranged his collection. The elusive connections and intuitive leaps represented on the Barnes' walls resonated with saxophonist and composer Ken Vandermark, whose own work incorporates inspirations from the entire history of jazz as well as avant-garde classical, post-punk, Ethiopian music and other styles from well outside the usual tradition.
January 3, 2014 |
CHICAGO has a branded, hometown-oriented jazz orchestra. Cleveland and Pittsburgh, too. So why doesn't our town - far richer than most in jazz history, heroes and students - have a rootin', tootin' Philadelphia-labeled ensemble to celebrate our riches, from the hey-days of Coltrane, Gillespie and Getz to the newest kids on the blocks? Come Tuesday, at long last, we will, as the 17-member, brass-heavy Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) makes its debut in gala (and hopefully fundraising)
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.
October 14, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA When she first started getting out of breath, Monnette Sudler was still performing. She was still teaching, still recording. Now, time is growing short for the jazz woman once dubbed Philadelphia's "first lady of guitar. " She's on oxygen 24 hours a day. Her times playing with Archie Shepp, Cecil McBee, Grover Washington Jr., and Hugh Masakela are memories. Her performances are rare. It's tough just to get around, not to mention taking the "A" train. As for meeting expenses, although Sudler has some health insurance, she - like so many others - has learned how limited that can be when it comes to a catastrophic illness.
June 5, 2011
Suzanne Cloud is executive director of Jazz Bridge When the Pennsylvania state House passed the penny-wise, pound-foolish House Bill 1485, I wasn't too surprised, but it didn't keep me from being existentially floored by the stupidity of the effort. Now the budget bill goes to the Senate, and all of us have to wince as they decide if 70 percent of arts funding goes into the big wood chipper of political expediency this month. But I think a small snapshot of what the loss of this funding would mean might tell a compelling story that the legislators would do well to hear.
March 23, 2011 |
Odean Pope is a Philadelphia treasure. The 72-year-old tenor saxophonist/composer has had a storied career. Heralded for his Coltrane-like sensitivity, he's been a sideman for Max Roach and the centerpiece of Philly's cinematic funksters Catalyst. As a leader, Pope has recorded notable improvisational jazz sides (his Soul Note output of the '80s), held court over his Saxophone Choir for 30-plus years, and continued to forge forward with the most buoyantly diverse CD of his career, 2010's Odean's List . Pope is the sort of native-born talent we should hold sacred.
March 18, 2011 |
Fellow jazzman Joe Lovano once described Odean Pope as a "bad, bad, bad, beautiful musician, man. " Anybody who has heard Pope reign supreme on tenor sax over the years couldn't argue with that. But after sitting down with Pope the other day and listening to him candidly share details of his decades-long struggle with a personal demon, I'd have to add another word to that riff of superlatives. Courageous . For more than 30 years, Pope has suffered from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.
July 20, 2010 |
For all of you jazz lovers who were planning to claim a spot in Raymond and Rosalind Wood's backyard for their annual Community Jazz Concert Sunday, hold on to that lawn chair for a minute. Or a month. Or two. The free concert, which the Woods pay for through community support, has been rescheduled for Sept. 12. That's because recent storms did a number on the Woods' Germantown property. Some branches fell from the bountiful peach tree. The lush vegetable garden where Rosalind grows her collards flooded.
September 23, 2007 |
It's twilight, the evening before Labor Day, and the weather is ideal. Odean Pope's tenor sax resounds in the verdant hills of the Awbury Arboretum, the site of Germantown's second annual John Coltrane Jazz Festival. Fronting his Saxophone Choir - a unique group consisting of nine saxophones, piano, bass and drums - Pope conducts and plays several signature pieces, attacking the breakneck tempo of "Prince Lasha," then easing into an unaccompanied solo on the dark, glowing ballad "Epitome.
August 27, 2007 |
JAZZ LEGEND John Coltrane was once quoted as saying, "I know that there are evil forces in the world, but I want to be a force for good. "A force for real good. " Four decades after Coltrane's death, that sentiment is being celebrated by two events in the city that he called home for much of his life. Over Labor Day weekend, the Tranestop Resource Institute will host the second annual John Coltrane Jazz Festival at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown; later in the month, altoist and bandleader Bobby Zankel will premiere his four-part suite, "A Force For Good" at North Philly's Church of the Advocate.