Temple University

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Throughout the month of February, join us for a special classical and jazz celebration of Black History Month on WRTI.

Rollo Dilworth pours his heart into teaching, conducting, and writing music for choral singers—and the choral music world loves him back. Typically logging over 100,000 miles a year, he travels the world to conduct and work with choirs of all ages. In this TIME IN interview, he talks about how the shutdown has reinforced his purpose in life, to use music to bring people together and promote social justice.

Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

Latin jazz percussionist Pablo Batista has developed a reputation as one of most versatile and hardworking players in Latin jazz and modern jazz, and in R&B and funk circles. Born to immigrant Puerto Rican parents in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Batista honed his skills playing in school bands. But his main love was playing Afro-Cuban and Latin music, which he started at the age of nine with his mentor and master percussionist Miguel Candia, also a teacher of the renowned drummer Giovanni Hidalgo.

Yonnie Simon

Whether singing jazz in a nuanced, mellow tone, tackling soul with sultry zeal, or hosting gospel’s tender spirituality with holy heft—there are no walls for Philly vocalist Lee Mo. Only open doors and easy gradations.

November 23, 2020. Imagine deconstructing an award-winning 21-piece band, scattering its members not just across the Delaware Valley but the country, having each instrumentalist record his/her parts individually, and then taking each of those individually recorded parts and surgically stitching it all back together to make it sound like the entire band was recorded in the same place, at the same time.

After two summers in residency at Temple University, the third season of Young Women Composers Camp (YWCC) was all virtual. The new format grew participation to 50 composers, ages 13 to 24, from as nearby as Philadelphia and as far away as Turkey and Australia. Each completed a short piece for solo performer. 

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.

When London-born bass player Anthony Tidd teams up with Philly-born, spoken-word artist Ursula Rucker, a special type of combustion occurs. Both create altruistic, socially conscious musical messages. Both are well-known names on the international music scene working with artists hailing from jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and alternative music.

Temple University

We mourn the loss of Philadelphia percussion legend, Alan Abel, who was a guru to generations of percussionists. He died on April 25, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. You can hear his warmth, creativity, and sense of humor in this 2012 WRTI feature, as well as the feelings of admiration and affection from his colleagues who now carry on.

The musical collective unit known as Vertical Current is comprised of talented artists expressing themselves through original compositions and rhythmically savvy interpretations of contemporary jazz classics.

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