Rick Parker and Li Daiguo bring global jazz to The First Banana

rick parker
Rick Parker and Li Daiguo | photo via

Accompanying his wife, a Pace University communications professor researching youth culture in China, to Shanghai over the past decade, trombonist Rick Parker initially looked forward to the cultural exchange possible in the world’s most populous city. But over the course of several visits he found himself frustrated by the lack of local artists on the scene. Continue reading →


Sax player Mark Allen draws out the beauty of the baritone

Mark Allen
Mark Allen | photo by Howard Pitkow

The baritone is often treated as the red-headed stepchild of the saxophone family. It’s often viewed as a bulky, unwieldy instrument, good only for anchoring the sax section in a big band where its honking bleats can be kept under control. A few great bari players have emerged over the course of the history of jazz, but even the best known – Gerry Mulligan, Pepper Adams, Cecil Payne, Hamiet Bluiett – have failed to approach the iconic status of their smaller horn counterparts like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Continue reading →


Interview: The Art of Hip Hop No. 1 with Black Milk

Black Milk
Black Milk | photo courtesy of the artist

Born Curtis Cross, Black Milk is a renowned hip hop producer and MC from Detroit. Influenced heavily by the likes of J Dilla, he has worked with prominent musicians from all over the pop spectrum. Although a frequent collaborator, he has also forged a career as a solo artist and is due to release his sixth full length, If There’s A Hell Below, on October 28.  His music has evolved steadily since his 2005 solo debut, Sound of The City, combining his foundational soul and jazz sampling with an ever increasing array of studio manipulations and sonic experimentation that mark him as both one of the most ambitious beat smiths now working, and one of the most subtle. He will be performing Saturday, October 18 at Johnny Brenda’s and recently spoke to us from Texas where he was visiting family. Continue reading →


Joie Kathos releases video for “Gone,” proves that she was born to entertain

Joie Kathos
Joie Kathos | photo courtesy of the artist

“I’m just trying to make more of a change than a dollar in pennies”

With lyrics like this it’s no wonder why local rapper Joie Kathos doesn’t think she has anything to prove and instead has a lot to share with the world. In the way Kathos combines rapping and dancing you would think that you’re watching the offspring of Left Eye and Big Daddy Kane whenever she performs. Continue reading →


Norway’s Kygo and the new EDM niche of trop-house

Kygo | photo via

If you’ve noticed a surge in chilled-out pseudo-house in today’s commercial electronic scene, it’s not just you. In an almost unpredictable turn after adopting high-energy trap and twerk (and moombahton before that) the commercial EDM community has opened its ears to a new, laid-back subgenre known as “tropical house.” Trop-house is possibly one of the most structurally-flexible subgenres of electronica to make it to the forefront of the scene. Drums are typically (but not always) four-on-the-floor, tempo ranges anywhere from 100-128 BPM, and instrumental synthesis tendencies are really up to whomever’s making it. It’s truly a creative-minded producer’s fantasy. Continue reading →


West Philly’s E-Hos is a “Real Life Winner” with latest record

E-Hos | photo courtesy of the artist

Everybody wants to be popular. Most of us have experienced the feeling of wanting to be noticed in school, whether it be high school or college, and many of us feel that if we’re not popular it makes us a loser. That might be how West Philly’s E-Hos felt when he dropped his latest project High School Losers Real Life Winners. Continue reading →


Philly’s Son Little to Release Things I Forgot EP November 11th

Son Little | Photo via
Son Little | Photo via

Son Little, the brainchild of singer/songwriter Aaron Livingston, continues to make local music news with an announcement for his upcoming EP release, Things I Forgot,  set for November 11th. Livingston, a Philly native, has gained popularity for his unique mix of R&B, blues and jazz, which we featured recently in WXPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week. Continue reading →


Philly native Jaleel Shaw to teach master class, perform at Temple’s “Jazz at the Underground”

Jaleel Shaw
Jaleel Shaw | photo courtesy of the artist

2011 was a hard year for Jaleel Shaw. His father passed away, a cousin was killed in a motorcycle accident, and some personal relationships came to an unhappy end. All of that pain is reflected through the impassioned music on his latest album, the 2013 release The Soundtrack of Things To Come. Which is to be expected for any artist who expresses themselves as personally as Shaw does – except for the fact that none of those things had happened yet when he wrote the music. Continue reading →


Meet Mr. Sampson: An Eclectic Electro-hop Stew from Drexel

Mr. Sampson, a local instrumental electronic hip-hop group based at Drexel University. | Photo via
Mr. Sampson, a local instrumental electronic hip-hop group based at Drexel University. | Photo via

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to travel all the way to Red Rocks Coliseum or Bass Lights at Madison Square Garden to find high-grade electronic music. In our own back yard, an instrumental electro-hop band called Mr. Sampson produces a unique blend of funk, soul, hip-hop, and electronic dance resulting in a catchy groove. Disregarding the accepted standard for (most) modern electronic artists – sit in front of a DAW and work through a piano roll for a few hours, pausing only to throw a repeated drum loop made of 808 samples onto a step sequencer – Mr. Sampson blends digital synthesis, acoustic instrumental composition, and live recording into a controlled cataclysm of funk and glitch, not even settling to stick with the 100bpm hip-hop feel through the entirety of a few of their tracks. Continue reading →