Philly Jazz

Tracy Love

WRTI is proud to take part in this year’s Jazz Summit, presented by Jazz Philadelphia and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, in partnership with PECO, on October 9th and 10th. This year’s Summit is virtual, and will directly address the challenges facing the jazz world right now, with the theme "Resilience."

Wikpedia/U.S. Library of Congress Music Division/ Wiliam R. Gottlieb

Some folks—even jazz fans—wouldn’t know that 'Robert Chudnick' was the real name of the musician whose handle was Red Rodney.  The once well-known jazz trumpeter from Philadelphia was born back on September 27th, 1927.

Have you ever discovered that a famous person once lived very close to you?  And all the while, you weren't aware of it—until that person moved away, and the world let you know about the celebrity who had been in your midst. WRTI's Bob Perkins remembers when jazz great Charlie Parker lived in Philadelphia for a time. 

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.

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