J. Michael Harrison

Philadelphia lost seven great musicians in the first four months of 2020. As a matter of cultural endowment, the loss represents the equivalent of whole libraries reduced to ash. These elders were the children of auto mechanics, beauticians, restaurant workers, scientists, unionizers and ministers — people who added measurable value to their communities. Each of the departed took the lived experience of Black America and articulated it with an instrument. They nurtured generations of musicians in this calling.

Courtesy of the artist

Since 2017, Slingshot—a collaboration between NPR Music and the digital music service VuHaus—has provided a platform where 'taste-making' music stations share stories about the music scene and emerging artists in their communities. Now, Slingshot is shining a spotlight on jazz in Philadelphia: its history, its present, and its future, with stories produced by WRTI.

As America and the world reexamine race and equality, creatives are addressing these issues by producing art and music. NPR Music stations invited artists to join the the national discussion—and Philadelphia-based Vocussionist Bethlehem Roberson responded with her piece, "Evolution."

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Organist Lucas Brown is a jazz and classical performing artist, composer, and educator who, with his eponymous septet, incorporates the openness of music into his playing while simultaneously moving into the future.

When saxophonist Olivia Hughart (now a college freshman) was in middle school in Lower Merion, there were few girls in her jazz big band, despite the fact that there were many girls in orchestra and band. In an effort to bring girls together from her school disctrict who shared an interest in jazz, she founded the organization Key of She Jazz.

The Cuban-born, Philadelphia-based composer and percussionist Arturo Stable possesses a unique and refreshing percussive sound that can shift seamlessly whether he’s collaborating or leading his jazz ensembles.

British-Nigerian, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and music producer Ola Onabulé has been on the music scene for more than 20 years.

Check out the video of Ola Onabulé and his ensemble here!

Derrick Woodyard

Listen to an improvised, savory, and sonic tasty treat as dessert is served live from the WRTI Performance Studio on Facebook Live by the ensemble Taste & Sound, which includes Philly-based chef and culinary instrumentalist Ben Miller and Amsterdam-based percussionist Shakoor Hakeem. WRTI's J. Michael Harrison is your host.

Christopher Andrew McDonald

NPR's recent debut of its new microsite, Live Sessions From NPR Music Stations Across America, now features “Philly Jazz,” a mix of music videos curated by WRTI. J. Michael Harrison is executive producer of WRTI’s jazz series.

Rugged Ram Records

Acclaimed British-Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and music producer Ola Onabule makes a special stop in Philadelphia to share selections from his new album, Point Less. He and his band visit with host J. Michael Harrison in the WRTI Performance Studio for an exclusive live video presentation on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11th at 4 PM.

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