Philly Jazz returns this summer to the Great Stair Hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as the area’s top jazz artists perform during July, August and September. The Museum’s Art After 5 series will also present three world music nights during the summer while welcoming the return of the popular martini bar outdoors on the East Terrace.
The Museum stays open late every Friday night, presenting a program of Art After 5, with music, dance, food and drinks in the Great Stair Hall in addition to the experience of 200 galleries housing a vast collection of art from around the world. Performances are presented in two sets—5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., with guided tours of the galleries offered throughout the evening. A full cash bar and à la carte menu of appetizers, light entrées and desserts is available with table service in the Great Stair Hall.
Earning a coveted “Best of Philly” (“Best Night Out,” Philadelphia Magazine, August 2004) in its rookie year last summer, the Martini Bar at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is back for its second season. The ideal spot to enjoy an evening of cocktails and culture, the bar offers a full menu of martinis along with the most stunning view of the city’s skyline.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students with I.D., children 13-18, and senior citizens (62 and over); children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times. Parking on the terrace level outside the Museum is free Monday through Friday.
This summer’s lineup of Philly Jazz and world music:
July 1, Scythian: Art After 5 celebrates “Irish Night” with the lads from Scythian, a group of twenty-something musicians who play Celtic music ‘with an edge.’ Scythian started several years ago as a group of street performers. Raised playing classical music, necessity drove Scythian (pronounced sith-ee-yin) to play at street corners in hopes of earning a few bucks for gas money. Although the need for petrol got Scythian started, they quickly built a loyal following in DC. They play regularly at Fado Irish Pub. Their modern spin keeps the crowds dancing to traditional rebel tunes like “Come Out Ye Black and Tans,” and covers of songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
July 8, Meg & The ClifTones: Vocalist Meg Clifton has a hauntingly powerful voice that attracted critical renown in 2003 when she teamed with Mary Ellen Desmond on a tribute album to singers Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney. Her performance at the Museum will showcase her ability to reinvent classic rock tunes in the genre of jazz and to put her unique touch on favorite standards.
July 15, Trudy Pitts: Philadelphia-based Trudy Pitts is a jazz pianist, organist, composer, vocalist, arranger and educator. Trudy has performed alongside jazz greats John Coltrane, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Stitt and many more.
July 22, Mark Kramer & Eddie Gomez: “Pianist Mark Kramer is an unheralded Philly jazz institution,” says music writer Nate Chinen. Kramer teams up with Eddie Gomez, a legendary bassist on the cutting edge of the jazz scene. His impressive resumé includes performances with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bill Evans.
July 29, Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble: Warren Oree & The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble have performed throughout the world, most recently at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival along with Pancho Sanchez, Chuck Mangione and other notable artists. Arpeggio’s repertoire includes original and standard compositions.
August 5, Latin Night - Rhumba Club: The legendary nine-piece ensemble Rhumba Club performs at major venues and jazz festivals allover the globe. Their 2001 release Radio Mundo has received outstanding critical acclaim and was selected as one of the year's ten best CDs by Jazziz Magazine. Mamacita, their second CD, was a breakthrough success receiving generous amounts of airplay on jazz and Latin stations around the country and was named one of the year’s ten best recordings by Public Radio International.
August 12, Ron Kerber: Ron Kerber has carved a niche for himself on the Philadelphia music scene over the last 20 years. His CD Round In Circles showcases Kerber's soprano, tenor and alto saxophone skills. He has toured or performed with artists such as Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Sheena Easton, Roger Daltry, and The Temptations. He is an assistant professor at the University of the Arts, where he teaches lessons and classes in theory and advanced improvisation.
August 19, The Foundations: The Foundations are relative newcomers on the soul/jazz circuit. With recent performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at clubs in and around New York City, the Foundations have been wowing audiences of all ages with their original blend of jazz, classic soul and R&B.
August 26, The Philly 5: The Philly 5 consists of John Swana (trumpet), Chris Farr (saxophone), Tony Miceli (vibraphone), Madison Rast (bass), and Dan Monaghan (drums). For the past five years, these five friends have met regularly to play tunes in Miceli’s basement, “just for fun.” In these sessions the musicians add countless songs to their musical vocabulary, write new compositions, breathe new life into lesser-known standards, and delve deeper into explorations of bebop and straight-ahead jazz.
Sept. 2, Middle Eastern Night - Joe Tayoun: Drummer Joe Tayoun is scion of the famous Lebanese musical family, having played all over the world including Dag Hammerskjold Hall at the United Nations. He started playing at age eight at his family’s renowned Middle East Restaurant in Philadelphia, where live authentic Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Armenian, Greek, and Israeli music and dance were performed nightly for 40 years. Learning from many of the area’s top Middle Eastern players, Tayoun became adept at the many styles of drumming within these different traditions, and has performed much of this repertoire with ensembles locally and nationally.
Sept. 9, Harry “Butch” Reed: Drummer Butch Reed is an alumnus of Philadelphia’s famous Settlement Music School, and studied privately with Carl Mattola and Skeets Marsh. He has performed with Nat Adderly, Johnnie Coles, Byard Lancaster, John Blake, Gerald Veasley, and recorded with Larry McKenna.
Sept. 16, Larry McKenna: One of the leading tenor saxophonists in the country, McKenna has been hailed as a ‘musician’s musician’ ever since his skills landed him a spot in the 1959 Woody Herman band. He has several nationally acclaimed CDs such as My Shinning Hour and It Might As Well Be Spring.
Sept. 23, Joanna Pascale: Joanna Pascale has established herself as a compelling and skilled vocalist. Her love for jazz took her to Philadelphia’s Performing Arts High School where she began to develop her unique repertoire. She went on to Temple University, where she studied under Terell Stafford and Bruce Barth. Her latest album, When Lights Are Low, showcases her approach to the timeless standards of American music.
Sept. 30: MONKadelphia: MONKadelphia is a group of area musicians who have dedicated themselves to the music of the great Thelonious Monk. MONKadelphia's co-founders Tony Micelli (vibes) and Tom Lawton (piano) are joined by saxophonist Chris Farr, bassist Micah Jones, and drummer Jim Miller in a program that celebrates Monk’s imagination and swing.