Category: Stories

A Farewell to Jazz Philadelphia, but Not to Jazz

A Farewell from Our Executive Director: This week will be my last at Jazz Philadelphia, and it’s bittersweet to step down as our first Executive Director; I’ll tell you more about where I’m going in a minute. First, I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to help build this new organization from the ground up...

President’s Letter: November 2022

Read about all the unique moments that made this such a memorable Summit -- from inspiring keynote presentations and informative sessions to receptions, CORE cooperative performances and awards!

Thank you to our 2022 Summit Giant Steps Sponsor: Mid Atlantic Arts

The Living Legacy Jazz Award was created in 1994 as a way to honor living jazz masters in Mid Atlantic Arts’ nine state region.  The Award has always focused on contributing to the perpetuation of the jazz legacy and education with an emphasis on passing skills and knowledge to the next generation of musicians. The first awardee was trumpeter Clark Terry and 28 stellar artists have joined him since – including our 2022 awardee, Roger Humphries.

Official statement from Christian McBride regarding the passing of Joey DeFrancesco

Joey DeFrancesco was my oldest friend in music. We first met at the Settlement Music School as part of their jazz program that Mr. Lovett Hines ran, and we instantly became best friends. I was 12, he was 13. It stayed that way through our next four years together at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts [CAPA]. We were inseparable...

Episodic Memories of Joey DeFrancesco

Words seem to be shallow, and even the act of writing falls short of expressing the heartbreak I have experienced over losing a young musical genius who has been in my life since he was 11 years old. On further consideration and from a therapeutic perspective, I would like to share a few episodic memories of my association with Joey DeFrancesco...

A Farewell to Monnette Sudler

Monnette’s music has many influences and she can play it all, including blues, folk, and rock music. But no matter what she was playing, underneath it all was a tremendous musical voice and ground, soulful, warm, swinging, funky, free, experimental, fearless, and open. And she really loved the guitar—you can feel this love when she plays...

Maria Marmarou

"As much as people talk about New York, Chicago, or New Orleans, Philly definitely has its own thing. It's so communal, and it's really cool to be a part of that."

Spotlight on: Hiruy Tirfe

“Philadelphia means everything to me. I would love to see this city back on the map. My hope for Philadelphia as a jazz city is to bring back the value of our music, musicians, artists and lovers of the arts.”

Spotlight on: Thaine Smith

“Nothing has the same feeling of belonging as playing live with others! Ever since I started playing the guitar I wanted to perform original music live. It has always been a yearning of mine, and to make a living performing for others would be a true blessing.”

Spotlight on: Lora Sherrodd

"Jazz music is an art form that stems from a place of oppression and the oppression of women is a subject that is rarely discussed within the genre. My hope is that writing this music will spark conversation about the current situation of women so that we can begin to create spaces for women in music.” 

Bob Perkins

"When you can take a horn or piano or guitar and make it sing, you tell stories of who you are. There's a niblet of a story in the music—who loves me; who didn't love me; my likes or dislikes—all encapsulated on the two to three-minute solo. It is part of you, whether you know it or not. It's an accumulation of your time."

Spotlight on: Connor O’Neill

“I think that we as a city can work harder to create spaces and events that uplift newer artists, and especially artists who push boundaries.”

Spotlight on: Kenny Rosario-Pugh

“I love playing Jazz and the unique freedom improv gives me. I also want to be an important part of helping the Jazz scene in Philly to grow.”

Spotlight On: Geraldine Oliver

“Continuing my mission as a healer, I see using this music to help people heal. Heal their minds, hearts and spirits. Jazz is the healing force—my mantra."

June President’s Letter: Black Music Month 2022

Established in 1979 by Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and media pioneer Dyana Williams, it was Williams's lobbying work that ultimately led to the signing of a White House proclamation for the annual celebration in 2000.