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Listen to all of our great Arts Desk features on jazz artists making music in the present and the past. Enjoy!

Self-Taught Bassist Warren Oree Looks at Motown and the Beatles Through a Jazz Lens

Warren Oree at the WRTI studios in March, 2016.

It’s Jazz Appreciation Month and WRTI is celebrating the local and national jazz greats who have shaped the music we enjoy today. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles Philadelphia bassist Warren Oree, who’s passionate about the power of jazz to connect musical styles and lives.

Radio script:

Susan Lewis: Warren Oree has been playing bass since he was 25. And while he learned music theory, he never had more than one lesson on the bass itself.

Warren Oree:  I used to regret it, but now I don’t because I realize I got my own sound. I don’t have a lot of rules to stop me from exploring.

Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

SL:  In 1979, he formed the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, which plays straight ahead jazz, avant-garde, and more. In recent years, he’s been working with the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, putting together programs that feature not covers, but jazz takes on music from different genres — from Michael Jackson and Patsy Cline, to the Beatles and Motown.

WO:  The point is for people to see there is a common denominator — a nucleus with music.  If you forget all those labels, those categories, you just have that passion, that intensity, that feeling.

SL:  Different music attracts different crowds. Playing them together opens people’s minds not only to music but to each other. 

WO: That’s the whole idea of it, to bring people together.

SL:  The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble tours, plays at the Woodmere Art Museum, at jazz festivals, and at various other venues around town.

Listen to Warren Oree talk with Susan Lewis about working with The Woodmere Art Museum with programs in the schools as well as Friday night jazz concerts at the museum.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.