The Blog

Extraordinary Surprise: Immanuel Wilkins

When an eight-year-old Immanuel Wilkins came into our program with an alto saxophone, he displayed an eagerness to perform jazz. The young musician was ready to learn from his instructors and mentors on how to become an effective improviser...

Just Fooling Around: Christian McBride

In the late 1970s, I became the Director of Settlement Music School’s Queen Village branch, and of the Rohm and Haas Jazz Ensemble.The ensemble attracted some of the area’s most talented young music students. The first generation of students was chosen by audition from students involved in the city‘s six week Better Break Music Camp and the second generation had the exceptionally talented elementary students Joey Defrancesco and Christian McBride...

Tony Miceli

Tony Miceli is one of those characters who, if they didn’t exist, he would have had to create: a musician as deeply into big rock as he is intimate jazz, a man who built a funky foundation upon the least likely of soulful instruments—vibraphone and marimba, and a serious leader and sideman with a rich sense of humor whose finicky focus has jumped from Monk and Mingus to Mozart and Bach in the past, leaving room for so much more in the future.

Coltrane Watch

The Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation (SMCDC) issued a press release on the status of the Coltrane House on May 3, 2021, and I called Tonnetta Graham, President of the SMCDC, the next day to get some clarity on a few things.

Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon

There’s a lot you can do with a sense of rhythm, a way with words, and a knack for telling a good story, but you have to be willing to persevere. Allow Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon’s story to illustrate.

Trapeta Mayson

As Philadelphia's fifth Poet Laureate, Trapeta Mayson merges her love of art with her love of community through words often accompanied by jazz music. Her poems often reflect her life story: born in West Africa, raised in North Philly, and now a licensed clinical social worker residing in Germantown.