Friday nights are always something to celebrate at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Art After 5 brings the top names in jazz and international music to the Museum’s elegant Great Stair Hall. Each Friday evening the space becomes a lively concert hall, with table service, cocktails, elegant café-style appetizers, and desserts. The fall 2008 season features the return of popular favorite artists and several exciting newcomers, while the first-ever Art After 5 Halloween party brings the dark, ambient sound of the Gothic 80s back to life. And in conjunction with the exhibition Gee’s Bend: the Architecture of the Quilt, the Museum is proud to present the world premiere of a commissioned work by one of the most intriguing and innovative composers working in jazz today, Jason Moran.
Art After 5 kicks off the season on an international note as Daniel Isengart takes the stage for an evening of Weimar Cabaret (Friday, October 3). A native of Paris and Munich currently based in New York, Isengart is a refined and dramatic musical performer with a postmodern taken on cabaret, focusing on the understated and sensitive side of Germany's popular songs and its particularly sly humor. His program includes excerpts from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht collaborations, popular Weimar hits, and the sultry standards associated with chanteuse extraordinaire Marlene Dietrich.
Isengart’s performance on October 3 will be accompanied by a special film screening of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920, 71 minutes) in the Museum’s Van Pelt Auditorium. One of the earliest, most influential, and most artistically acclaimed German Expressionist films, it will be introduced by Rebecca Sheehan, who teaches Film Studies at Haverford College. This special evening is supported by the German-American Day Celebration Committee. Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar was an accomplished jazz and classical musician living in New York City when the events of 2002 caused him to re-examine the music of his ancestors. He traveled through Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, immersing himself in the centuries-old tradition of the Iraqi Maqam, a style that refers to specific melodic modes, in which the musician improvises based on certain rules.
ElSaffir now leads “Safaafir,” the only ensemble in the U.S. performing Iraqi Maqam. On October 24 they will bring this distinctive, soulful sound to the Great Stair Hall for a performance that is sure to illuminate and entertain. The voice of Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger Claudia Acuña has been described by the LA Times as an "instrument of wonder.” Born in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, Chile, Acuña began singing regional folk/pop, rock, fusion and opera, drawing inspiration from Chilean music pioneers Violeta Parra and Victor Jara – but says she finally "felt at home" when as a teenager she heard the voices of Frank Sinatra, Erroll Garner and Sarah Vaughan.
Acuña was signed to Verve Records in 1999, and recorded her critically acclaimed debut “Wind from the South” in 2000, followed by “Rhythm of Life” (2002) and the MaxJazz recording “Luna” (2004). Acuña sings in both English and Spanish, and has been hailed for her ability to transform classic songs with her provocative and unexpected readings. Her appearance on Friday, November 21, is presented in conjunction with The Week of Chile in Philadelphia, with support from The Embassy of Chile.
On Friday, December 12 Art After 5 is proud to present a world premiere performance by Jason Moran and the Bandwagon featuring Bill Frisell. An innovative and provocative composer, as well as a brilliant performer, Moran has been commissioned by the museum to create a new composition inspired by the special exhibition Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, which explores the quilting tradition in the African-American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.
After launching his career as a sideman with such renowned artists as Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Ravi Coltrane, Greg Osby, and Stefon Harris, Moran has established himself as a risk-taker and innovator in the world of jazz. With a unique sound tempering jazz traditions with hip-hop, pop, and new production technologies, Moran’s multimedia musical creations combine the everyday with the abstract: spoken word, telephone conversation, and sonic collages. Moran has a keen interest in contemporary art and regularly explores issues of race and the African American experience as a touchstone in his composition development. His commission for Jazz at Lincoln Center, RAIN, was inspired by “ring-shouts”-slavery-era dance and music rituals-as well as the civil rights anthem “Lift Every Voice.” When producing the theatrical jazz suite “Milestone” in 2005 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, he looked to Harlem-born conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper’s art work, which is informed by her experience as an African-American woman in the art world.
Moran will be joined on December 12 by his regular group The Bandwagon as well as special guest and Grammy-award winner Bill Frisell, the widely acclaimed jazz guitarist whose distinctive style is rooted in jazz while incorporating elements of folk, classical, and country music.
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 fall 2008 Art After 5 lineup is as follows:
Daniel Isengart is a New York-based cabaret singer raised in Paris and Munich whose career has established him on both sides of the Atlantic. His repertory cuts across more than a hundred years of popular song. In conjunction with this evening of German-style cabaret, will include a screening of the acclaimed German Expressionist film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920, 71 minutes), introduced by Rebecca Sheehan, who teaches Film Studies at Haverford College. The performance is supported by the German-American Day Celebration Committee.
This innovative threesome includes some of the finest Brazilian musicians at work today. Multi-instrumentalist and compopser Arismar do Espírito Santo, voted as one of the best guitar players in Brazil by Guitar Player Magazine; Vinicius Dorin, saxophone virtuoso with the great Hermeto Pascoal Group for the last 15 years; percussionist Rogerio Boccato, recently featured on Kenny Garrett’s 2006 Grammy-nominated album.
She’s been called “a beautifully controlled and sumptuous voice” by All About Jazz, “Something special and truly unique” by critically-acclaimed vocalist Luciana Souza, “lovely and haunting” by The New Yorker and “comforting, exciting and spellbinding” by People Magazine. Alyssa began laying the foundations for her most recent CD “Echo” in January of 2006. It was a more than two year-long process, influenced by Alyssa's travels throughout Brazil, India, Africa and Europe.
Amir El Saffar
Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar put his New York career on hold in 2002 to immerse himself in the music of his ancestry, the Iraqi Maqam. Already an accomplished jazz and classical trumpeter, ElSaffar traveled to Iraq and elsewhere in 2002 in search of masters who could impart to him the centuries-old tradition. In addition to his trumpet, ElSaffar learned to play the santoor (Iraqi hammered dulcimer) and to sing, and he now leads the ensemble Safaafir.
Halloween Night at the Museum!
Celebrate Halloween at Art After 5 with DJ Knobhead, who’ll be spinning the best of 80s Gothic music – think Sisters of Mercy, Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, Siouxsie & the Banshees and more - all night along. The festivities include ghost stories in the galleries, tarot card reader, spooky art tours, and more. Costumes are encouraged; prizes will be awarded for the best ones.
Mediterranean Night with Discanto and Animus
The band Discanto began with Michele Avolio, who for thirty years has kept alive the tradition of popular music from the central Italian region of Abruzzo. Much of the groups’ repertoire comes from Alvolio’s earlier group, Vico del Vecchio, and includes traditional music from Abruzzo and southern Italy, saltarelli (dance tunes), original songs in the Abruzzan dialect and ethnic music from other Italian regions. Opening for Discanto will be Animus, an exciting Philadelphia-based collective whose original songs meld the exotic musical traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Turkey and Greece.
San Francisco-based Jackie Ryan has a three and a half octave vocal range and a magnetic stage presence, and her frequent performances in clubs on both U.S. coasts and in Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan have made her an international jazz star. Her regular gig at Ronnie Scott’s famous club in London prompted the London Evening Standard to call Ryan "one of the finest singers to perform at Ronnie's since Shirley Horn.”
A pure, compelling and original voice, Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger Claudia Acuña draws upon the culture of her homeland by fusing Latin rhythms with her instinctive jazz sensibilities. Singing mostly in her mother tongue, Acuña makes it clear that music crosses all barriers - particularly when sung with her distinctive brand of authentic emotion. This concert is part of The Week of Chile in Philadelphia and supported by The Embassy of Chile.
Grammy nominated Kenny Werner was child prodigy recording single with a fifteen-piece orchestra at the age of 11. He went on to become one of greatest pianists in jazz, performing with Toots Thielemans, Joe Lovano, and later acted as the musical director for Betty Buckley. He’s won numerous NEA grant and commissions and authored the influential Effortless Mastery.
A native of Soweto Township outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Bakithi Kumalo creates a singular electric fretless bass sound that teems with double stops that sound like human voices and the African grooves of his homeland and has garnered him a stellar reputation as an artist. In addition to touring with Paul Simon, he has recorded and/or toured with the likes of Hugh Masekela, Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan, Chaka Khan, Grover Washington Jr., Harry Belafonte, Gerald Albright, Miriam Makeba, Josh Groban and Chris Botti.
World Premiere: Jason Moran and the Bandwagon featuring Bill Frisell*
New York City-based composer and pianist Jason Moran has earned a reputation as one of the most adventurous young artists in jazz. He's a restless musician whose work draws on everything from hip-hop and classical music to the rhythm and tonality of everyday speech, as well as contemporary art. The Museum has commissioned Moran to compose an original work based on the exhibition Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt. He will be joined by acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell for this world premiere performance. *This program, including the commissioning and presentation, is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts.
Holiday Jazz: Tim Warfield with special guest Joanna Pascale
Saxophonist Tim Warfield has been praised by the New York Times and has performed with such names as Christian McBride, Isaac Hayes, Orrin Evans, and others. This holiday concert features Philadelphia vocalist Joanna Pascale.
Pianist Orrin Evans has recorded as a leader for the Criss Cross, Palmetto, and Imani record labels. When not performing with his own trio or projects like Luvpark, he plays with such bands as Robin Eubanks EB3, the Mingus Big Band, and the Monk Project with Jamaaladeen Tacuma.
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. Limited parking is available on the Museum’s Upper Terrace at $4 for members, $5 for non-members.