Warren Oree

Courtesy of the artist

Pioneering bassist and composer Jymie Merritt was born in Philadelphia in 1926. He died on Friday, April 10th, 2020 at age 93. No cause was given by his son, who posted the sad news on social media.

(Courtesy of the artist)

The Woodmere Art Museum's exhibition Freedom's Journal: The Art of Jerry Pinkney—which showcases the works of master watercolorist, Caldecott-winning illustrator, and Philadelphia native Jerry Pinkney—will end on May 12th. The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble will be at the Woodmere on Saturday, May 11th at 7 PM to perform a musical narrative of two books illustrated by Pinkney—I Want To Be, by Thylias Moss, and The Old African, by Julius Lester.

West Philadelphia native Warren Oree has a work ethic like that of the late James Brown, who held the title of “hardest working man in show business.” Along with leading the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, the bassist and educator is also runs Lifeline Music Coalition, along with partner Graziella DiNuzzo, which has produced some of Philadelphia’s most prominent jazz events. 

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.


Warren Oree's Lifelong Arpeggio

Feb 10, 2015

Growing up, Warren "Butch" Oree never had dreamed of becoming a musician. Though jazz was a constant presence in both his home life and social activities, the thought of actually getting on stage didn't cross his mind until he wandered into a music shop in his mid-twenties.

Upon learning that Oree had a long-standing interest in the upright bass that he had never pursued, the shop keeper, James Mitchell, accused him of cowardice - one thing that Oree, who was then a respected gang member, deeply resented.

Warren Oree's Unlikely Road to a Life in Jazz

Feb 9, 2015

Jazz bassist and composer Warren Oree has become a stalwart of Philadelphia’s jazz scene. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, his story is one of overcoming great personal adversity helped by, and in the service of, music.

If you’ve spent any time listening to live jazz in Philly in the past several decades, chances are you’ve heard Oree play. Yet, his road to musical success was a bumpy one. He says he wasn’t even sure that such a road existed in his early life.

The more you look and listen, the more you realize that classical music and jazz tend not to stay in separate lanes.  Sometimes they won't even use turn signals.  A good example is "With A Gentle Touch," from the CD, Classic Encounter by the Ramsey Lewis Trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra under James Mack. Warning: this is a habit-forming tune, as is the whole CD.  

Jazz: Uniting Nations At The Woodmere Art Museum

Apr 15, 2013
Woodmere Art Museum

Music Lives at the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, where, as WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the role of jazz in the history of the United Nations is being celebrated - close to where the UN’s Headquarters might have been.

Take a look at the Promise Of Peace: Violet Oakley's United Nations Portraits at the Woodmere Art Museum.

A United Nations Jazz Jam: Musicians from Around the World, April 26th, 6 to 8 pm at the Woodmere Art Museum. Performers include Yoomi Kwan (Korea, on cello); Rosie Langabeer (New Zealand), on accordion and piano); Atiba (Trinidad, on steel drums); Gloria Galante (Italy, on harp); Qin-Qian (China, on Erhu); Koki Soul (French Canadian, guitar/percussion/vocals); Phyllis Hadad (Brazil, on piano) and Moguane Mahloeoe (South Africa, on percussion).