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Bobby Zankel revives Warriors of the Wonderful Sound for a residency at The Painted Bride and Clef Club

Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Sound | Photo courtesy of the artist
Bobby Zankel’s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound | Photo courtesy of the artist

When Bobby Zankel ended his decade-long run of monthly performances at Tritone in 2011 (mere months before the South Street club itself went to a better place), the future of the saxophonist’s adventurous Warriors of the Wonderful Sound big band was unclear. The following year brought the first reinvention of the band through a series of commissioned compositions from jazz greats Muhal Richard Abrams, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Steve Coleman.

A more radical reinvention came in 2013, when Zankel scaled down the band to a ten-piece and almost completely overhauled its membership. “The original band had run its course,” Zankel shrugs now. In its first two years the new Warriors maintained its vitality while making fewer appearances, though the more sporadic shows always made an impact: its unveiling at the 2013 Philadelphia United Jazz Festival; an inventive and surprising collaboration with hip-hop choreographer Raphael Xavier and Cuban-born percussionist François Zayas as part of the Kimmel Center’s inaugural Jazz Residency program; a tribute to “New Thing” pioneers Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and Sun Ra in a powerhouse double-bill with the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Painted Bride. Continue reading →

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Meet The Bul Bey: Philadelphia’s underdog MC performing at Ortlieb’s next week

The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com
The Bul Bey | via thebulbey.tumblr.com

Amir Richardson might come off as an underdog. That’s because he is. Known in the Philly hip hop world as The Bul Bey, he recently released his debut album with Illvibe Media, titled Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies. And although he’s been making, writing and releasing music since 2007, he refers to this album as his “formal introduction to the masses.”

He’s coming out of his shell and Richardson, 27, admits that he sometimes thinks it took him a while to get to this point.

Without completely cuing the Fresh Prince, Richardson is a homegrown West Philadelphian who’s been shaped and molded by his experiences in the city, both good and bad. Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies is largely a product of this upbringing – one laced, quite honestly, with paranoia and fear. Continue reading →

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Scaling Rose Mountain with Screaming Females

Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

This week, local legends in the making Screaming Females capped off their first decade as a band with the release of the rollicking Rose Mountain. As slick and snarling as anything they’ve ever done, it makes a strong case for being the trio’s best work yet. In preparation for what is sure to be a righteous release show tomorrow at the First Unitarian Church, I caught up with singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster, drummer Jarrett Dougherty, and bassist Michael Abbate to chat about their new record, moving to Philly and their last ten years playing together. Continue reading →

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Ground Up discuss organic beginnings, songwriting and tour with OCD

Ground Up at Union Transfer | via facebook.com/skilloverswag
Ground Up at Union Transfer | via facebook.com/skilloverswag

Philly’s Ground Up may have jumped into the realm of major exposure in recent years with songs like “Got Damn” and “Daps,” whose video views boast over 200,000 views. But it’s their summer smash “Lets Ride” that has captivated audiences and the those of us at The Key’s office. Bij Lincs, the mastermind and the creator of the group’s sound, is matched perfectly by MCs Malakai and Azar, whose lyrical prowess is both intuitive and witty. The guys are currently on tour but I caught up with them to ask where the inspiration on their newest songs came from and what they’re looking forward to about their upcoming hometown show. Continue reading →

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Modern Baseball, Spraynard, Marietta, and more rock the Church for Strength in Weakness release show

Modern Baseball | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott
Modern Baseball | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott

Eric Osman said “one second” and ran to check if a box of candy left by concertgoers had anything left inside. Unfortunately, the founder of Lame-O Records was disappointed by the lack of chocolate, but stoked by just about everything else – including a huge crowd’s response to his label’s charity split. Continue reading →

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Another local punk band, Dogs on Acid, signs to Jade Tree Records

Dogs on Acid | via facebook.com/DogsonAcid.us
Dogs on Acid | via facebook.com/DogsonAcid.us

In less than two weeks, Jade Tree Records scored two local punk bands: West Chester trio Spraynard, and Dogs on Acid, a foursome composed of members originating from bands like Algernon Cadwallader and Snowing.

A snippet from Jade Tree’s announcement:

Two signings in two weeks?! What is this, 1999? …Dogs on Acid combine the spontaneity of indie rock with the fun of pop to create songs that are as enjoyable as they are catchy, and promise to stick in your head for days.

Member Nick Tazza (original drummer of Algernon Cadwallader) swapped emails with us about the signing. Continue reading →

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Sonic Liberation 8 will re-imagine loft jazz and chamber music at The Rotunda

Sonic Liberation Front | Photo courtesy of the artist
Sonic Liberation Front | Photo courtesy of the artist

Living in New York City between 1976 and 1985, Kevin Diehl found himself in the midst of the fertile loft jazz scene. During that now-legendary period, some of the most influential and forward-thinking musicians of the last half-century gathered together in Soho, forging a new sound building on the 1960s avant-garde and asserting their independence from major record labels and nightclubs. They were a group fueled by the communitarian spirit of organizations like Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and St. Louis’ Black Artists Group (BAG).

Continue reading →

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Credit Where Credit Is Due? Drake Instagrams artwork by Philly’s Dewey Saunders without attribution

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


In the social media universe, sharing and re-sharing is the name of the game. Someone’s creative effort can be blasted out to a whole new audience with a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger that takes a fraction of a second.

Unfortunately, in this same universe, things like credit and attribution are handled in a bit more of a fast and loose manner – sometimes accidentally, sometimes out of laziness. Despite our best efforts, we’ve been guilty of it The Key on occasion in the past. We’ve seen it happen to the work of our contributors, too. Broadly speaking, when an artists’ work gets lifted without credit, it is often being presented to a limited audience – somebody’s personal Tumblr, for instance. Other times, it winds up before a whole universe of eyes.

The latter happened yesterday when Philly illustrator Dewey Saunders was re-grammed by rap mega-star Drake. Continue reading →