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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kamasi Washington at World Cafe Live, Meg Baird at Johnny Brenda’s, Set and Setting at Kung Fu Necktie

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, LA saxophonist and acclaimed band leader Kamasi Washington brings his aptly-titled debut LP The Epic to World Cafe Live with an eight-piece band. In an interview earlier this week with The Key’s Shaun Brady, Washington talked about breaking down the boundaries of genre:

The word ‘jazz’ and the word ‘hip-hop’ have a separation, but the music doesn’t really have that same separation. You can’t talk about hip-hop without talking about A Tribe Called Quest, and their music is inundated with jazz. You can’t talk about west coast hip-hop without talking about James Brown and Parliament.

Read the whole interview here, listen to “Miss Understanding” below and get tickets and more information on the show via the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Marietta will celebrate the release of As It Were at Johnny Brenda’s, Lizard Lounge and Everybody Hits

Marietta | via Facebook.com/whereismarietta
Marietta | via Facebook.com/whereismarietta

Locals Marietta impressed us immensely with the release of their twinkly sophomore effort As It Were. (You can read our review of it here). The band just announced a 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s October 12th alongside the Japanese rock act Tricot. You can purchase tickets for the event here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: La Luz at Underground Arts and A Day Without Love at The Fire

La Luz | Photo by Andrew Imanaka
La Luz | Photo by Andrew Imanaka

Seattle-based hazy rock act La Luz will be taking their soundscapes to Underground Arts. Coming to fruition in 2012, they have since released three records, which each one topping the last. Their latest effort, Weirdo Shrine,  teems with summertime surf melodies. Comprised of members Shana Cleaveland on guitar, Marian Li Pino on drums, Alice Sandahl on keyboard and Lena Simon on bass, La Luz does not fall short. You can get tickets and more information on their show here. Continue reading →

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The Sun Ra Arkestra will be taking over 40th Street this weekend

Philadelphia United Jazz Fest celebrates the scene in Center City
Sun Ra Arkestra | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

The Sun Ra Arkestra is, to put it simply, an experience. A concoction of far too many genres to list, the off-kilter big band will be performing for free as part of the 40th Street Summer Series on the University of Pennsylvania campus at 40th and Walnut. They will be joined by The South Pacific Island Dancers on August 29th to create an event that should not be missed. Music will begin at 6 p.m. and you can find more information here. Continue reading →

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Interview: Kamasi Washington on breaking down the boundaries of jazz with The Epic

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

“West Coast Jazz” means something very specific to most listeners – cool, intellectual, played by guys in short sleeves and horn-rimmed glasses whose calmer brand of hip evoked a more laid-back atmosphere than the frantic pace of New York City. It’s an image, as that description implies, that’s not only reductive but locked in the 1950s, reflecting the eclipsing effect that New York has on other areas of the jazz landscape.

With the release of The Epic, Kamasi Washington explodes that image with the force of a supernova. The saxophonist/composer’s sprawling, monumental three-disc debut is an ambitious Afro-futurist opus that swirls in elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop, electronica and soul, as well as a 32-piece orchestra and 20-person choir supplementing the adventurous sound of his core ten-piece band. That band consists of fellow members of a collective known alternately as The West Coast Get Down or The Next Step, a group of like-minded, genre-leaping artists who grew up together in the Leimert Park section of South Central Los Angeles. Their combined efforts suggest something transformational happening in the incubator of the L.A. music scene. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Brianna Cash at The Fire, Alessia Cara at Underground Arts

Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese
Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese

The final Electric Church party of the summer brings singer-songwriter Brianna Cash to The Fire tonight, along with Ill Fated Natives – the band she’s been collaborating with live and and the studio this year – and rapper The Bul Bey, who just got spotlighted in Kate Bracaglia’s Summertime Sips and Summetime Sounds column. Listen to Cash’s “Beautiful Energy” below and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Lucinda Williams will headline the TLA on October 13

Lucinda Williams | photo via Facebook.com/lucindawilliams
Lucinda Williams | photo via Facebook.com/lucindawilliams

Lucinda Williams‘ fall tour will bring her back to Philadelphia for a headlining gig at the TLA on South Street on Tuesday, October 13 with Buick Six opening the show. Tickets are on sale Friday, August 28th at noon. Williams released her eleventh album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, last year. Listen to “Walk On” below and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Dead & Company will play Wells Fargo Center in November

The Dead | Photo via billboard.com

Following their 50th anniversary “Fare Thee Well” shows this summer, three-fourths of the Grateful Dead announced that they weren’t quite done yet, and would be performing with John Mayer this fall. Their full fall tour dates were announced today, per Billboard, and they include a stop in Philadelphia to headline the Wells Fargo Center on November 5th. Continue reading →

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The Beta Hi-Fi class of 2015 packed in the talent at World Cafe Live

The finalists of Beta Hi Fi 2015 at World Cafe Live | Photos by John Vettese
The finalists of Beta Hi Fi 2015 at World Cafe Live | Photos by John Vettese

I’ve been a judge on World Cafe Live’s annual Beta Hi-Fi competition for several years now, and it’s always a treat to meet the Philly artists that come up through its ranks – past winners have included Commonwealth Choir and The Districts. Last night, the finals of Beta Hi-Fi 2015 were held, and the talent was at a higher level than ever before. Continue reading →