Last fall The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts started a series of monthly jam sessions featuring some of the best and hottest talent in the Philadelphia area, with Emcee Ciarra and the IllVibe Collective DJs running the turntables for the night and a new host taking the helm at Sittin’ In every month. This month’s showcase on July 15th will be hosted by jazz musician Luke Carlos O’Reilly.
It’s going to be a chilly Fat Tuesday tonight, but a couple center city jazz shows will warm up your Mardi Gras celebration. Over at Chris’ Jazz Cafe, the regional crew Hoppin’ John Orchesrta will take the stage for their annual throwdown. The New Orleans-style brass band mixes up traditional and vintage numbers with more contemporary vocal tunes and originals in the spirit of the big easy. Listen to their recent appearance on The Key Studio Sessions and get more information on the show here. Continue reading →
Brandi Carlile’s performance at the Kimmel Center this Saturday was nothing short of inspirational.
Performing with her band and a string trio on the beautifully conceived “Pin Drop Tour”, Carlile et al. unplugged and dispensed with amplification, opting instead to trust in the theater’s beautiful acoustics and their own power to sustain us for the evening. It was an intimate distillation as embracing and as warming as any spirit, and with much more soul than I had prepared for. Continue reading →
With more than enough English-language music flooding American airwaves to make even the most eclectic music-lover’s heads spin, a group like Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 might easily fall under the radar. Maybe you were lucky enough to hear their eccentric mid-2000s breakout hits “Atréve te-te” and “La Jirafa” at a college- or work-sponsored Latin music night and thought “Hey, this is a pretty cool beat,” before shimmying your hips off-rhythm for the next few hours. Continue reading →
On Sunday night, Tori Amos took Broad Street by storm. At the nearly sold-out Verizon Hall, Amos, armed only with her Bosendorfer piano, a keyboard and an organ, unlocked her musical treasure-trove for a stirring 20-song set.
Theoretically touring behind her 2014 album Unrepentant Geraldines (she only played two tracks from the album), Amos dug deep into her catalog and her diverse musical interests. Continue reading →
King Crimson, a giant in the field of prog rock, is set to return to the Kimmel Center to play a two night concert September 12th and 13th. Though the band initially formed in 1969, it has gone through several new members and now features Gavin Harrison (drums), Bill Rieflin (drums), Pat Mastelotto (drums), Tony Levin (bass and vocals), Mel Collins (Sax, flute), Jakko Jakszyk (guitar, vocals) and Robert Fripp (guitar).
This will be the band’s first tour since 2008. In recent years, the band has reissued classic albums Starless and Bible Black as well as Discipline as a part of their 40th anniversary series. Their thirteenth studio album, The Power to Believe was released in 2003. In his DGM Diary, Robert Fripp says, “This is a very different reformation to what has gone before: seven players, four English and three American, with three drummers.”
No doubt, this latest rendition of the band will continue the great work of King Crimson. Watch the moving video for their 1969 classic “Epitaph” below. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 am. Get more details here.
When I called him last week, Jeff Bradshaw was taking a rare moment’s rest, sitting on the sidewalk outside of his favorite cigar shop in Chestnut Hill. It was a momentary respite at best between corralling, at his count, a 19-piece band, 14 guest artists, 18 flights, and 24 hotel rooms to make his dream project happen: a live recording Wednesday night at the Kimmel Center which will become the trombonist’s third album, Home.
“To do something amazing takes that kind of preparation and work,” Bradshaw says. “It’s a lot of moving parts.”
Those parts will come together on Wednesday, Bradshaw promises, to conjure a number of what he calls “Oh no he didn’t moments.” He’s ensuring those moments happen by augmenting his usual horn-heavy ensemble with a ten-piece string section bringing together members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other chamber ensembles from the city, and by assembling an array of all-star guests that includes R&B/smooth jazz singer-songwriter Will Downing; a cappella gospel sextet Take 6; Grammy-winning keyboardist Robert Glasper; New Orleans rising star Trombone Shorty; ex-Floetry singer-songwriter Marsha Ambrosius; gospel singer Kim Burrell; and smooth jazz saxophonist Najee, among others.
“It’s going to be a once in a lifetime event,” Bradshaw says. “The top ticket price is $100, and there’s no way you can see all of these artists on one stage in one night and pay 100 dollars. At the high end that’s still a great value.”
After releasing two studio albums – his 2003 debut Bone Deep and the 2012 follow-up Bone Appetit – Bradshaw calls Home his “coming out of sorts.” Bradshaw is a gifted instrumentalist and born showman who combines influences from gospel, soul, and jazz and has toured the world with superstar acts including Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Kirk Franklin, John Legend, The Roots and Earth Wind and Fire. But he’s less known outside of his hometown as a bandleader, so wants to capture his sound at its best: in the live setting. Continue reading →
Trumpeter Terell Stafford and director Deena Adler founded the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia last year with a mission of celebrating the city’s rich jazz heritage. That couldn’t have been more evident at the Philly-centric big band’s gala fundraising concert at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday, which hosted some of the city’s finest talents playing music by some of its favorite sons.
The concert in Verizon Hall began in high spirits as Stafford bantered with emcee (and lifelong jazz booster) Bill Cosby, who arrived sporting a Temple sweatshirt. After a rambling introduction during which he name-dropped venues and DJs and musicians from the city’s past, Cosby taunted guitarist Greg Kettinger to play a bit of the band’s opening number, McCoy Tyner’s “Passion Dance.” After a bit of schtick with Kettinger and the bandleader (Stafford: “He’s got a capo.” Cosby: “What’s wrong with his pants?”), the legendary comedian led the audience in a humalong of the tune. Acknowledging the sold-out crowd, Cosby encouraged Stafford to keep going here at home, discouraging the mention of a Carnegie Hall concert by saying, “Don’t go on the road. Let them come here.”
That riotous introduction necessitated a lively follow-up, and the 17-piece ensemble delivered with a spirited arrangement of “Passion Dance” propelled by Chris Beck’s combustible rhythms. Longtime Stafford compatriot Tim Warfield Jr. stated the sultry melody of Benny Golson’s “Along Came Betty” in a short quartet intro before the full band entered, while UArts instructor Chris Farr turned in a graceful tenor solo on a lush rendition of John Coltrane’s ballad “Central Park West.” The chair of instrumental studies at Temple, Stafford pointed out that members of both schools’ faculty in one band is evidence of the city’s jazz community “coming together for the betterment of music in Philadelphia.” Continue reading →
The Philadelphia Orchestra refuses to let the night be ruined after an unexpected cancellation of tonight’s “Pops Up” New York performance for the Carnegie Hall Opening Night concert. Instead, music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the rest of the ensemble will stick around for an unscheduled appearance at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. The free, nonchalant event starts at 6:30 tonight with general admission seating. Come early to Commonwealth Plaza to participate in a “Conduct the PO” pre-concert event beginning at 5:30 p.m., where concert-goers can try their hand at conducting select musicians of the Orchestra. Yannick and some of the musicians will also be autographing the new Deutsche Grammophon CD of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Details can be found at philorch.org. Below, watch another pop-up concert the orchestra perfomed this year – mid-flight from Beijing to Macao on their tour of China.
Folk-Americana singer-songwriter Patty Griffin performed on Thursday night to a crowd at the Kimmel Center. Her seventh LP, American Kid, was released last month on New West Records. Check out photos from the show in the gallery above. This week Griffin was David Dye’s guest on the World Cafe; listen to the session here.