The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s intimate Friday evening jazz series, which has played host to a broad range of award-winning jazz duos, trios and quartets, will need a bigger stage on July 28, as the Mingus Big Band comes to town for the first big-band concert in the five-year history of Art After 5. The 14-piece band, which includes three trumpets, three trombones, five saxophones, and one piano, bass and drums, celebrates the music of the legendary composer and bassist Charles Mingus, who died in 1979. The band tours extensively in the United States and abroad, and has eight recordings to its credit, four of which have been nominated for Grammys. It's newest, “I Am Three,” received a four-star rating in the September 2005 issue of Downbeat, and was nominated for a “Best Large Jazz Ensemble” Grammy.
The concert is one of two big band performances made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, one of the most acclaimed and innovative big bands in jazz history, will perform at the Museum on Jan. 26, 2007.
The Mingus Big Band is but one highlight in an action-packed summer lineup of Friday night concerts from July through September, a lineup that features Great Stair Hall veterans Joanna Pascale, Justine Keyes and Larry McKenna and first-time Museum performers Jaleel Shaw and Jae Sinnett. In addition, the second Friday of each month features “duels” between some of the region’s top jazz musicians, while today’s top vocalists pay tribute to their predecessors on the third Friday of each month.
This summer’s Art After 5 lineup:July 7: Beau Django
Beau Django is a Philadelphia-based ensemble dedicated to the music of Django Reinhardt and Quintette du Hot Club de France. Croatian guitar virtuoso Kruno Spisic and Philadelphia-born violinist extraordinaire Arty Artymiw are joined by guitarist Jon Dichter and bassist Scot Churchman, playing an extensive repertoire.
July 14: Dueling Saxophones-Larry McKenna & Bootsie Barnes
A rare opportunity to see two Philadelphia area saxophone legends go head to head in a saxophone battle. 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. Robert “Bootsie” Barnes has been proclaimed a Philadelphia treasure. He has toured Europe as well as the United States and Canada, leaving a lasting impression on audiences all over the world. He has headlined venues from New York’s famed Birdland to the very prestigious Le Grand Hotel in Paris.
July 21: Joanna Pascale tribute to Frank Sinatra
Jazz vocalist Joanna Pascale has quickly become an Art After 5 favorite. The young singer relishes the more obscure standards from the 1920s-1960s. Her vivid interpretations of Frank Sinatra standards are endowed with a spry sense of swing and they ooze romantic grace.
July 28: The Mingus Big Band
Since Charles Mingus's death in 1979, Sue Mingus has created and continues to direct repertory ensembles to carry on the music of her late husband. The most well known is the Mingus Big Band, a New York institution that performs weekly to packed crowds at the Iridium nightclub. Since 1993, she has produced seven Mingus Big Band recordings for the Dreyfus label, including Tonight at Noon (2002), The Essential Mingus Big Band (2001), Blues and Politics (1999), Que Viva Mingus (1997), Live in Time (1996), Gunslinging Birds (1995), and Nostalgia in Times Square (1993), which were nominated for Grammy awards. This performance is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts.
August 4: Scythian
The music of Scythian incorporates band members' classical training, Celtic traditions, folk music, and Gypsy and Klezmer elements to create “Celtic with an edge.” Fiddles, rhythm guitar, accordion, mandolin, harmonica, bass, drums, bodhran and vocals come together in an original style rooted in tradition. 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.”
August 11: Dueling trumpets-John Swana & Joe Magnarelli
John Swana has played with everyone from Benny Golson to Tito Puente. Joe Magnarelli has played with the Carnegie Hall Orchestra and Harry Connick, Jr. Their joint performance combines two of the most talked about trumpeters playing today.
August 18: Meg & the Cliftones-60s Rock Tribute
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. The ClifTones' unconventional jazz repertoire comes packed with meaning for present-day audiences. Their performances showcase the “new” standards: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Edgar Winter, the Police and more.
August 25: The Jazz Barrons Tenor and soprano saxophonist George Barron performs with his son, pianist Farid Barron. The elder Barron has toured with pianist Lonnie Liston Smith and drummer Norman Connors. His influences include Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane.
September 1: Arts In Motion
Live music and video projections inspired by the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
September 8: Dueling Guitars-Craig Ebner & Dave Stryker
Two seasoned masters of jazz guitar team up for what is sure to be a memorable performance. Guitarist and composer Craig Ebner has performed with Chris Potter and is on the faculty of Temple University. Dave Stryker is consistently ranked as one of the top guitarists playing today and has performed internationally as both a leader and a sideman.
September 15: Justine Keyes
Miss Justine, a jazz vocal sensation who gets rave reviews all over Philadelphia and beyond, performs a tribute to the great ladies of jazz. The singer has worked with Shirley Scott, Ray Charles, Keter Betts, Al Grey, Butch Ballard, Bootsie Barnes, Don Patterson, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Barron, and her musical mentor for over fifteen years, the late pianist Gerald Price.
September 22: Jaleel Shaw
Philadelphia native Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophonist, has performed with such world-class artists as Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Arturo Sandoval, Nicholas Payton, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Charles Mingus Big Band, the JazzReach education group, and performs in various clubs in New York City and abroad. His first CD, Perspective, was named one of the top 5 debut jazz CDs of 2005 by All About Jazz.
September 29: Jae Sinnett
Jae Sinnett is a professional jazz drummer who has played with such giants as Branford and Ellis Marsalis, Joe Henderson, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. For the past 15 years, Sinnett has produced and hosted Jazz with Jae Sinnett on NPR affiliate WHRV-FM in Norfolk, VA. His playlist has included all the greats from Miles Davis to Paul Desmond to Max Roach, and he teaches jazz-appreciation classes, too. He has eight recordings out, the most recent The Sinnett Hearings is the first on which he has written and arranged every composition.
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 200 galleries, housing a vast collection of art from around the world. The experience is enhanced each Friday by a program of music, dance, food, and drinks in the Great Stair Hall. 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. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens (62 and over); $8 for students with I.D. and children 13-18; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times.