October 5, 2012 |
"There's a bit of a performer in everybody," says Al Rinaldi, who ought to know. The Mount Laurel resident, 75, has played and sold pianos for more than a half-century. The venerable Steinway & Sons gave him a lifetime achievement award in August. And starting Friday, his Jacobs Music store in Cherry Hill will host a three-day, outdoor "perform-athon" featuring 70 professionals, semiprofessionals, and students playing for charity. Scheduled pianists include doctors, lawyers, an animator who works part-time in a Center City restaurant, a rabbi, and a dentist.
October 2, 2012 |
Conditions were less than ideal when the Bad Plus first played Chris' Jazz Cafe in 2003. The club's notoriously tuning-resistant piano was crammed into a narrow corner opposite the bar. Young fans drawn by the band's penchant for covering Nirvana and Blondie hits crowded around cross-legged on the floor, uncomfortably close. Yet the irreverent jazz trio kept coming back, and this weekend they helped celebrate Chris' 22d anniversary with a two-night stint Friday and Saturday. Much has changed at Chris' over the last nine years.
October 2, 2012 |
JEAN MAY GASKINS was a lonely child. Sure, she was doted on by her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and she made friends at school. But until her sister, Claudia, was born, something was always missing. Her parents gave her numerous pets to keep her occupied, and through them she hit upon a way to exercise her early urge to be a teacher. She would make the pets her students - whether bird, dog, cat and even a pig. She tried to teach them the ABCs and to count to 20. Needless to say, her success rate was limited.
August 27, 2012 |
To view a video of the maestro and the piano-playing cat, go to:
August 15, 2012 |
SHE WAS 88 years old, but here's how an interviewer described her in 2009: "Her gold-toned pants with matching top, large jeweled earrings that sparkle brilliantly as they catch the light, and her gold high heels serve as the ideal ensemble within a beautifully aged home that is dripping with old Hollywood elegance. " That was Willa Ward, agelessly beautiful and still radiating the electric energy that made her a star as a member of the legendary Ward Singers, the Philadelphia-based gospel group, and later when she began singing pop standards on her own. Renowned for her beauty, talent and charm, Willa also was a fine pianist who could have had a career on the piano.
August 4, 2012
The internationally renowned Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa, 33, has been found dead in her apartment in Vienna. The musician's agent, Andreea Butucariu, said in a statement Friday that Ms. Ursuleasa died Thursday from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage and asked for her family's privacy to be respected. Police in Vienna confirmed the cause of death. Butucariu told Romanian media that Ms. Ursuleasa had recently canceled two concerts in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on unspecified health grounds.
June 7, 2012 |
GO AHEAD. Play the art. The University City District's new project, Heart & Soul, employed eight local artists to gussy-up pianos that will be placed around University City from Thursday-June 17. The project kicks off Wednesday with a party at The Porch at 30th Street Station, where pro key ticklers will try out the pianos before they get put on the streets. Although Philadelphia is no stranger to public art projects, both permanent and temporary, it's rare that they have a participatory element (aside from posing beside it and mugging for a photo, of course)
May 25, 2012 |
Don Wilson, 76, a former Philadelphia police officer and a leader of The Big Band at the Clef Club in Philadelphia in the 1990s, died of pneumonia on Thursday, May 17, at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Mr. Wilson joined the police force in August 1959 and retired in August 1981. He played trumpet with a police department band, as well as piano for the Police Pastimers Band until it disbanded in the early 1990s. For the last two years, Mr. Wilson played piano with the Tony Williams Trio on Monday nights at LaRose Jazz Club in Germantown, and he was a solo pianist on Thursday nights at the Warrick Hotel in Center City, said his sister, Ursula Hendricks.
May 10, 2012 |
Andras Schiff played the recital of his life on Tuesday, and in light of the lofty standard established by this 58-year-old pianist, that's saying a lot. But the 2½-hour recital of miniature works — the first half had 74 movements or pieces played without pause — was a lot to take in. Comfortable enjoyment wasn't in the game plan. While Schiff has long charmed his public with his teddy-bear presence and poetic, soft-spoken concerts of Bach, his Tuesday recital, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society at the Perelman Theater, interspersed Bach inventions among more assaultive peasant dances by Bartok and the brand-new Circus Dances by the contemporary Austrian composer Jorg Widmann.
March 19, 2012 |
YOU AIN'T heard nothing like "rockjazz" musician ELEW - the torrent of power and passion kicking out the jams tonight for the "Live from Loews" (hotel) monthly concert series. The press release bills it as an "intimate live performance. " Don't they know what they're really getting here? Standing/dancing at his Yamaha piano, with legs fanned out like a sumo wrestler and arms encrusted with metallic "vambrace" armor, the man truly attacks his keyboard. The left hand pounds bass lines with such fervor you'll never notice there's no drummer.