The Key Studio Sessions: Ernest Stuart


It’s always a treat when we get to dip our toes into Philly’s vibrant jazz scene, and thankfully Ernest Stuart makes it really easy for us. The Philly trombonist’s highest-pofile gig is in the bhangra beat dance ensemble Red Baraat, with whom he tours heavily (they’re about to go out on a late summer / early fall US run), but without a doubt his most significant one is the Center City Jazz Festival, which he founded in 2012. At this year’s event, you could spot Stuart bouncing from venue to venue throughout the day, culminating in a grand finale of a set where he and his quartet tore down the stage at Time and had onlookers watching from the sidewalks of Sansom Street. Because, oh yeah, Stuart is a composer and solo artist in addition to everything else he’s got on his plate. Continue reading →


Scenes from the Center City Jazz Festival

Ernest Stuart at Center City Jazz Fest | Photo by John Vettese
Center City Jazz Fest founder Ernest Stuart performs at Time | Photo by John Vettese

The best Philadelphia music festival you haven’t checked out yet, Center City Jazz Festival took over the Sansom Street corridor on Saturday afternoon with 20 performers stationed at five different venues. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s an incredible deal: a $15 ticket lets you bounce from space to space, maximizing the music you take in.

If you know nothing about jazz, it’s a robust introduction to the scene – ultra-modern originals mixed with traditional standards and crossover covers of Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and Nirvana. If you’re more versed in the jazz world, CCJF shines a light on the variety our community has to offer.
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Philly trombonist Ernest Stuart on nurturing the scene with Center City Jazz Fest

Ernest Stuart | Photo by Jauhein Sasnou | courtesy of the artist
Ernest Stuart | Photo by Jauhein Sasnou | courtesy of the artista

After growing up and studying jazz in Philadelphia, trombonist Ernest Stuart moved two hours north to make a go of it as a musician in New York City. It exposed him to a spectrum of new sounds and connected him with artists he works with to this day – including the Brooklyn-based Bhangra band Red Baraat, with whom he tours on the regular. When he returned to Philly in 2010, Sturart decided to add some of that spark the local scene. “There wasn’t much happening here jazz-wise and I grew tired of hearing myself complain about it,” he recalls. “Somehow that ended with me creating a jazz festival.” Continue reading →