Orrin Evans Among Headliners of Inaugural Philly Jazz Fest

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Orrin Evans is among the headliners scheduled to perform at the Philadelphia Jazz Festival, which runs April 23–30. (Photo: Courtesy the artist)

Jazz is getting some brotherly love in Philadelphia, courtesy of a new jazz festival. The first annual Philadelphia Jazz Festival will take place April 23–30 in the Pennsylvania metropolis, and is set to feature a diverse mix of artists, including headliners drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, vocalist Madison McFerrin, trombonist Steve Turre, singer Bob Dorough and Philly-reared pianist Orrin Evans.

Timed to coincide with Jazz Appreciation Month—as April has officially been designated in the United States—the Philadelphia Jazz Festival was made possible in part by brothers Robert and Ben Bynum, creators of restaurants/jazz venues SOUTH, Paris Bistro, RELISH, Warmdaddy’s and Zanzibar Blue. Their new non-profit organization, the Philadelphia Jazz Experience, was created to help local and international jazz artists. Additional support was provided by Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.
 
The city of Philadelphia has a long and emblematic jazz history, having groomed countless jazz legends—including John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Kenny Barron, Michael Brecker and Jimmy Heath—within its boundaries. In a press statement, the Bynum brothers said they hope the festival and their new non-profit organization helps preserve and extend that legacy.

“We support Philadelphia’s diverse pool of musicians 52 weeks a year in four different locations across the city,” explained Robert Bynum. “This Philadelphia Jazz Festival, along with the PJE, is about strengthening the fabric of our community and cultivating future generations of fans, artists, and jazz admirers.”
 
Other artists scheduled to perform throughout the week include local musicians Lil John Roberts, Jeff Bradshaw and Jaguar Wright. The Philadelphia Jazz Festival will also support the return of esteemed Philly native and newly signed Mack Avenue Records recording artist Joey DeFrancesco, who recently received a star on the Philadelphia Walk of Fame. He’ll be joined by fellow Philly-area natives Randy Brecker and ELEW (Eric Lewis) as part of a local all-stars band. Pianist Evans and bassist Gerald Veasley, both Philadelphia natives who helped launch a pair of weekly series at SOUTH, are also slated to perform.
 
The Festival will also offer an Education & Outreach component with several events throughout the week. Partnered with local organizations such as the Kimmel Center, Jazz Lives Philadelphia and Jazz Journeys, youths and seniors are invited to attend a “Meeting with the Masters” program, various meet and greets, discussions, luncheons and more. 
 
The Festival’s partnerships include the following venues: SOUTH, Chris’ Jazz Club, World Café Live, Warmdaddy’s, RELISH, The Philadelphia Clef Club, The Paris Bistro, Ardmore Music Hall and the new Michael Nutter Theater at the Philadelphia Convention Center, among others. Additional sponsors and supporters include PECO, Stella Artois, Brown Foreman, Promixo Beverage, Penn Beer, Breakthru Beverage, Southern Wines & Spirits and more. Proceeds from the festival will benefit local organizations, including the Food Connect Group, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the North Broad Street Renaissance.

For a full schedule of events please go to thephiladelphiajazzfestival.com. DB


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July 2017
Bill Frisell
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