Philly Jazz

Courtesy of Chris' Jazz Café

When Center City Philadelphia's Chris' Jazz Café closed its doors in March because of the Coronavirus, the world-famous venue was already a couple of months into a quiet revamp, offering live streaming performances as a natural option for its patrons.

The multitalented Kendrah E. Butler-Waters, a pianist, composer, and vocalist, weaves cultural honesty and spiritual sensibilities into her compositions and performances. "I try to share the history of African American folks and our development into my work," said Kendra during an interview with WRTI Jazz Host and Live Sessions Executive Producer J. Michael Harrison.

Pianist Victor Gould took a shine to the piano at age four and has been sparkling on the keyboards ever since. Born in Los Angeles, Victor's piano virtuosity has made waves in New York’s renowned jazz scene and beyond.

During a recent interview, saxophone great Larry Mckenna was right on target when he shared that often in other cities, when people found out he was from Philadelphia, they’d ask him if he knew fellow Philadelphia  saxophone great Bootsie Barnes. 

April 6, 2020. Trumpeter John Vanore’s newest release is not very new at all. It was actually recorded in the mid '80s, with no intention of release. Vanore, and fellow Philadelphian, pianist Ron Thomas, were experimenting with some music from that time. Vanore discovered these tunes on cassette in his basement, and now we have Primary Colors, a chill, yet electric album that touches on the familiar (of 1985).

John Lamparski/Getty Images

When I was a kid growing up in South Philly, there was an older fellow down the block who was trying to play an alto saxophone. He wasn't doing well at it.

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.

August 26, 2019. Saxophonist Dave Wilson may be the coolest thing to come out of Lancaster since Dutch Wonderland—and Dutch Wonderland is pretty cool. For family fun, you can’t beat the log flume. But if the aim is to recreate a sophisticated evening of live jazz in the comfort of your own home, you really can’t beat One Night at Chris’, the fifth recording from The Dave Wilson Quartet.