The New Year brings a new reason to celebrate every Friday night 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 winter 2009 season features popular favorite artists and several exciting newcomers.
In addition to presenting engaging performers from around the world the new season underscore the richness of Philadelphia’s own musical traditions. Among the native talents to take the stage is violinist Diane Monroe (January 23), whose versatility and expressive artistry have won her acclaim from both classical and jazz audiences ranging from the New York Chamber Symphony to the Apollo Theater. She performed at the first Fiddle Fest at Carnegie Hall alongside such legends as Arnold Steinhardt, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Ani and Ida Kavafian and Mark O'Connor. Her jazz credentials include more than a decade touring as first violinist of the Max Roach Double Quartet and the Uptown String Quartet. Monroe graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music and University of the Arts, and has taught at Oberlin Conservatory, Swarthmore College, and Temple University.
Alto Saxophonist Neil Leonard (February 27) is known for his innovative yet accessible approach to composition and improvisation, combining soulful ballads with electronic and synthetic sounds to create a rich, complex musical landscape. In addition to performing with the Boston Ballet, Hiram Bullock, Don Byron, Frank Lacy, Uri Caine, Orlando Cachaito Lopez (Buena Vista Social Club), John Medeski and many others, Leonard has been collaborating with visual artists for two decades, and is widely recognized as an expert in music for multimedia. He has created sound for installations at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Kitchen in New York, the Seattle Art Museum, and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. His compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Banff Festival for the Arts, and the International Computer Music Convention. Leonard is an Associate Professor in the Music Synthesis Department at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
On March 20 accomplished jazz saxophonist Tim Ries will present his energetic readings of songs made famous by one of the most celebrated rock and roll bands of all time. Having toured with the Rolling Stones since 1999, his latest project is dedicated to reinterpreting the phenomenal Jagger-Richards songbook, including such classic hits as “Satisfaction”, “Slipping Away”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “As Tears Go By”, “Paint It Black”, “Gimme Shelter”, “Street Fighting Man”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and many others.
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 winter 2009 Art After 5 lineup is as follows:
A stalwart and soulful all-around vocalist, Catherine Russell can shift from sophisticated torch songs to the barrel house blues, delivering each with aplomb and a show-stopping intensity. She has toured and performed with Paul Simon, David Bowie, Steely Dan, and Rosanne Cash, and hails from a family of serious musical chops. (Her father, the late pianist Luis Russell, was the long-time musical director for Louis Armstrong while her mother, Carline Ray, is a guitarist, bassist and vocalist who has performed with Doc Cheatham and Wynton Marsalis). On her latest album Sentimental Streak, Russell pays tribute to both her musical and familial heritage, with arrangements inspired by Chick Webb, Hoagy Carmichael, Louis Armstrong, Willie Dixon, Frank Sinatra, and Russell’s own father.
Doc Gibbs has traveled the world as a performer, a student, and an instructor of the global drum cultures. As a percussionist Gibbs has toured with Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, Grover Washington, Jr., and Erykah Badu, and headed the house band on the television show Emeril Live. His love of hand drums and percussion instruments began in the early 1970s, when he left the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art to pursue his real dream - a career as a master percussionist. His recent studio work includes collaborations with Wyclef Jean, Erykah Badu, and Eric Benet among others.
A compelling soloist and chamber musician, violinist Diane Monroe is a dynamic improvisational artist and composer, equally at home in classical, jazz, blues, and contemporary idioms. From exciting, expressive violin recitals and memorable live premieres with orchestras, to chamber music appearances with a coterie of classical and jazz greats, Monroe has a gift for charming, uplifting and transporting audiences of all kinds. Her live performances draw from the classical repertoire, blends of jazz, spirituals, rhythm and blues, and her moving, original compositions.January 30
Justin Faulkner with Surprise Guest
17-year-old wunderkind Justin Faulkner is already a sought after percussionist and a rising star in the jazz world. He has performed with Peter Nero, Branford Marsalis, and Ravi Coltrane, Bootsie Barnes, Bobby McFerrin and others. Raised in Southwest Philadelphia, Faulkner attended the Settlement Music School from age seven. He recently added vibraphone, marimba, timpani, and more to his musical arsenal, which allowed him to tour Brazil with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra in the summer of 2008.
The Oscuro Quintet
The Oscuro Quintet is an international group that pursues a collective passion for the tango compositions of the late, great Ástor Piazzolla (1921-1992). As a performing group, they take an adventurous approach to chamber music with an unorthodox ensemble and repertoire. They will be joined for this performance by live dancers who will demonstrate the beauty of traditional tango.
Denise King Denise King: Special Valentine’s Day Concert
Art After 5 celebrates Valentine’s Day with a special evening of cocktails, holiday-inspired fare, and slow dancing to Philadelphia’s own Denise King, whose warm tone and impeccable phrasing recall some of jazz’s legendary chanteuses. With phrasing styles borrowed from Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole and Frank Sinatra, she draws the audience into her performances while radiating energy, spontaneity and style. King will perform a set of her favorite love songs.
Saxophonist David Liebman has recorded everything from straight ahead classic jazz to chamber music; from fusion to avant garde. A master player in the modern style of John Coltrane and a disciple of tenor Hank Mobley, Liebman is noted for his extensive altissimo range on the soprano saxophone. He and his group continue to perform a challenging and eclectic repertoire that ranges from jazz standards to Puccini arias, original adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis catalogues, to original compositions.
Neil Leonard is a composer and performer working with saxophone and live electronics. He has performed with Afrocuba, Boston Ballet, Juan Blanco, Bakida Carrol, Robin Eubanks, Frank Lacy, Victor Lewis, Joe Maneri, Odean Pope and man others. A master at the art of mixing technology and music, he has collaborated extensively with visual artists and has been a featured composer at VI Jornadas de Informatica y Electronica Musical (Madrid), Banff Festival for the Arts (Canada), International Computer Music Convention (Montreal), Muestra Musical de Siglo XX University of Puerto Rico, Alternative '97 Moscow, and the Festiwal Audio Art, Krakow (Poland). The Alternate Music Press wrote of Leonard’s work: “This is music that can be listened to endlessly, with fresh detail emerging on each occasion."
Japan Night with Love, Etc.
Celebrate Japan at Art After 5 with a live performance by the Brooklyn-based quartet Love, Etc., whose style combines the warmth and catchy hooks of Japanese pop with touches of classical music and soulful jazz. The evening will also feature tours of the Asian art collections, and a special sake menu. This night is supported by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
A protégé of esteemed Philadelphia pianist Sid Simmons, Neil Podgurski is steeped in jazz tradition. There are traces of Thelonius Monk and McCoy Tyner in his deceptively carefree playing style, which is full of energy and confidence. Though anchored in the bop tradition, Podgurski’s sound is distinctive and modern.
”Among jazz musicians, the saxophonist Tim Ries is known as a singular talent, a player’s player,” says the New York Times. He has penned over 100 compositions over in both the jazz and classical idioms, and performed with Phil Woods, Tom Harrell, Al Foster, Dave Liebman, Maynard Ferguson, Maria Schneider and many others. In addition to his jazz work, Ries has been a member of the Rolling Stones touring band since 1999, and translates the Jagger-Richards songbook with his latest recording project, Stones World: Rolling Stones World Music Project.
Vocalist Paula West captivates her audiences with heartfelt renditions of well-known standards and sensitive interpretations of a wide-ranging selection of songs. Steven Winn of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “this extraordinary jazz singer wears each song like perfectly fitted silk”. Her critically acclaimed albums include Temptation, Restless and Come What May.
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which houses 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.