The legendary Herbie Hancock began as a child prodigy in the 50’s, was sought after by Miles Davis to join his Second Great Quartet in the 60’s, and in the decades since has released 41 studio albums, picked up 14 Grammy awards, and added a star to the Hollywood Walk of Fame while reshaping the landscape of jazz along the way – and these are only the highlights of the highlights. Continue reading →
While it’s certainly not a new trend, it was particularly evident seeing May’s musical offerings in Philly that the lines between what’s considered jazz and classical or new music have never been blurrier. The highlight of last month’s calendar was Bowerbird’s landmark Julius Eastman retrospective; a last-minute program change on the final night led to the reprise of Eastman’s “Thruway” in a version that sounded radically different from its earlier performance and thus revealing the amount of spontaneity and chance in the piece. More explicitly, the first iteration followed Eastman’s instruction that a jazz band play from offstage, leading to scraps of Monk seeping into the music’s quieter portions like a neighbor’s stereo through an open window. Then there was the two-night Ars Nova run that featured Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley playing a long-form piece inspired by John Cage, followed by John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet playing short compositions that were often complexly through-composed.
Orchestral Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros are at the Academy of Music tonight. Led by Jónsi, the post-rockers will perform two sets, pulling from their expansive catalog that includes standout records ( ) and Takk…. along with 2013’s Kveikur. Tickets and information for the all-ages concert can be found here. Watch “Óveður” below, released this summer.
The Kimmel Center‘s monthly Sittin’ In is back, this time featuring Philadelphia based spoken word / recording artist Ursula Rucker. Rucker will lead her “Supa Sista Presents” band through the live jam session, perhaps giving a preview of the record she’s been working on. More information for the free event can be found here; listen to “Supa Sista” below.
Swedish musician Jose Gonzalez and New York classical music ensemble yMusic headline Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center tonight. Gonzalez, best known for his work with Junip and Zero 7, released a solo LP called Vestiges and Claws last year. And this is not the first time that yMusic is collaborating with a singer-songwriter; they joined forces with Ben Folds just last year. Check out Gonzalez and yMusic performing the former’s “With the Ink of a Ghost” below and pick up tickets for the all-ages concert here.
It’s never a good idea to judge a band by its name — except in the case of Free Cake for Every Creature, the rare instance of a band name whose charming and playful name happens to perfectly mirror their music. With lyrics like “For you I’d steal a 50-cent machine / and we won’t need money or anything / cause we’ll have gumballs,” the Philly-via-Upstate New York four-piece emit a delighful lo-fi pop vibe that’s reminiscent of Double Double Whammy label-mate Frankie Cosmos. They’re gearing up to release their newest record Talking Quietly of Anything With You in April, and tonight you can find them at the First Unitarian Church. Grab tickets to the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Suave rocker Bryan Ferry – equally regarded as a crooning solo artist as well as the frontman of the glam-adjacent 70s rock outfit Roxy Music – announced a short U.S. tour that brings him to Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center on July 21st. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 5th, at noon. Continue reading →
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 →