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What better way to put the swing in spring than catching a live jazz or world music performance at Art After 5? Each Friday evening the Great Stair Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art becomes a lively cabaret, with table service, cocktails, elegant café-style appetizers, and desserts. The spring 2008 program schedule includes acclaimed favorite performers as well as innovative emerging artists, with a special focus on the most versatile of instruments, the piano, as it is featured in styles ranging from Afro Cuban to blues and gospel to classic jazz. Five of this season’s shows will highlight pianists.
In conjunction with the Frida Kahlo exhibition, which is on view in the Museum’s Dorrance Galleries through May 18, Art After 5 is proud to present the premiere of an original performance by the award winning Miro Dance Theatre, which was commissioned by the Museum and inspired by Frida Kahlo's diary. “Self Portrait” incorporates dance, live animation, video, still imagery, choreography, elaborate sets and costumes in what directors Amanda Miller and Tobin Rothlein describe as a “a living performance sculpture” to be witnessed from all sides. Inspired by Kahlo’s “Memory” or "The Heart" and other works, it reflects on the artist’s struggles with illness and penchant for self-expression. The work will be performed in the Great Stair Hall on Friday, May 2 at 5:45 and 7:15 p.m.
Other notable nights in the spring 2008 season include the NYC-based Latin pop-folk group Pistolera (April 4); the vocal collaborative MOSS, which brings together some of New York's most talented and diverse jazz singers, including Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan of the Grammy award winning New York Voices, performing a mix of standards, poetry, original music and spontaneous improvisation, on April 18; the all-star jazz trio of Oliver Lake (alto sax), Reggie Workman (bass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums) performing as Trio 3 (May 23); and a special appearance by Rotterdam-based composer and pianist Amina Figarova (June 20), one of the most exciting jazz talents in Europe today.
Art After 5 showcases an eclectic mix of international music and dance performers on the first Friday of each month. Recognized and emerging jazz artists perform on all other Fridays. The spring 2008 Art After 5 lineup is as follows:
April 4, Pistolera
NYC-based Pistolera draws from traditional styles of Mexican music and fuses this sound it with a pop-rock sensibility. The electrifying quartet features the Spanish lyric songs of vocalist and guitarist Sandra Lilia Velásquez, the driving accordion melodies of Maria Elena, and the unbeatable rhythm section of bassist Inca B. Satz and drummer Ani Cordero.
April 11, Elio Villafranca
Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was born in Cuba and classically trained in percussion and composition in Havana. Inspired by jazz and Afro Cuban music, his spirited and innovative sound creates a unique cultural and musical fusion.
April 18, MOSS
MOSS features some of New York's most talented and diverse jazz singers presenting their original compositions and resetting them for five voices. The group performs everything from standards and poetry to spontaneous improvisation. MOSS combines the talents of Peter Eldridge and Lauren Kinhan (also part of the Grammy award winning New York Voices) with Luciana Souza, Kate McGarry, and Theo Bleckmann.
April 25, Aaron Goldberg
NYC-based pianist Aaron Goldberg studied at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music before enrolling at Harvard University, where he won the International Association of Jazz Educators' Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship award and became a member of Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program. After graduating from Harvard in 1996 he has achieved visibility on the international jazz scene as a member of the Joshua Redman Quartet, later touring with the Wynton Marsalis quartet. Goldberg’s most recent release is Worlds.
May 2, Self Portrait
Award winning dance company Miro premieres an original performance commissioned by Art After Five and inspired by Frida Kahlo's diary. It fuses dance, live animation, video, still imagery, choreography, elaborate sets and costumes in what directors Amanda Miller and Tobin Rothlein describe as a “a living performance sculpture” to be witnessed from all sides. Inspired by Kahlo’s The Heart and other works, it reflects on the artist’s struggles with illness and penchant for self-expression.
May 9, Donny Mc Caslin
Tenor saxman Donny McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny. His own recordings feature McCaslin’s distinctive compositional skills, subtly incorporating elements of Latin American music within adventurous jazz frameworks. Thanks to his recent, high profile gig with the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin is also enjoying well-deserved recognition for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos.
May 16, Nando Michelin
Having established a successful career in his homeland of Uruguay, Nando Michelin enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he continued developing his skills as a piano player and composer. Michelin’s work explores the relationship between Latin music and jazz improvisation, forging a wholly personal voice that draws on both.
May 23, Trio 3
This all-star trio of Oliver Lake (alto sax), Reggie Workman (bass), and Andrew Cyrille(drums) possess an uncanny communication that’s driven their 20-year collaboration. Over four decades as tireless exponents of the jazz avant-garde, these musicians have played alongside jazz royalty such as John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and Wayne Shorter. Together they continue their passionate and provocative musical explorations.
May 30, Paula West
Coming off an acclaimed run at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, Paula West brings her eclectic songbook of jazz and pop standards to the Great Stair Hall. Her voice has been compared to Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson, with “a thicker caramel coating” (The New York Times). Like Simone, West shares an affinity for the music of Bob Dylan - whose work she frequently performs – as well as a refusal to be bound by musical categories.
June 6, Scythian
Rousing and raucous, Scythian (sith-ee-yin) plays kicked-up Celtic and world music with hints of gypsy and klezmer, all infused with a touch of punk-rock sensibility. Their high-energy, interactive show – featuring outbreaks of extemporaneous tambourine playing, feverish dancing, and spontaneous bedlam - has thrilled audiences up and down the East coast for several years.
June 13, Dave Burrell
Distinguished composer-pianist Dave Burrell is a performing artist of singular stature on the international contemporary music scene. His dynamic compositions, with blues and gospel roots recall the tradition of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington.
June 20, Amina Figarova
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and currently living in Rotterdam, Amina Figarova began playing piano and composing at a very early age. She studied as a classical concert pianist at the Baku Conservatory, jazz performance at the Rotterdam Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Today she is one of Europe’s most exciting jazz composers and pianists.
June 27, Kate McGarry
A bold, brave musical adventurer, McGarry delivers personal renditions from an eclectic repertoire that redefines the realm of vocal jazz. Her 2005 release, Mercy Streets, featured originals and arrangements by Kate and her husband guitarist Keith Ganz, as well as covers of Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel. McGarry’s latest recording, The Target, features a hot organ ensemble with Gary Versace, the lyrical guitar of husband Keith Ganz, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Greg Hutchinson on drums, and guest tracks with tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin and Theo Bleckmann on voice loops. This concert is part of her CD release tour.
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 $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens (62 and over); $10 for students with I.D. and children 13-18; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times.