Category Archives: Music

Philadelphia Jazz City – The Great Tradition

Hank_MobleyBillie Holiday was born there. John Coltrane, and Dizzy Gillespie called it home during their lifetimes. In addition to being the “cradle of liberty” and the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Philadelphia’s contribution to America’s cultural and artistic landscape runs nearly as deep, especially when it comes to jazz.

Philadelphia’s jazz scene developed in the early 20th century, with two clubs, the Standard Theatre and the Dunbar Theatre, hosting most major acts travelling along the Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York corridor. Later, clubs opened along Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia and the Clef Club, the Showboat, and Pep’s called South Philly home. From those early beginnings Philadelphia’s association with jazz grew steadily, mirroring the meteoric rise of the art form’s popularity, on through the peak years of the 40s, 50, and 60s. In addition to the giants of jazz listed above an amazing list of jazz greats established themselves there, or called the city home (not in any special order):

Ethel WatersStan GetzClifford BrownPhilly Joe Jones, Reggie Workman, Red Rodney (with the great Frank Young on drums), Jimmy Smith, Hank Mobley, Wilbur Ware, Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Odean Pope, Kenny BarronHenry Grimes, Jimmy Garrison, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Fortune, Archie Shepp, Rashied Ali, Sun RaStanley ClarkeJamaaladeen Tacuma, Christian McBride… Just to name a few.


Photo: Hank Mobley. Photograph by Ted Williams, circa 1956

Kamasi Washington and the Next Step – Epic Jazz from LA

From the Los Angeles Times:

“the idea of a South Central jazz ingénue makes for a hell of a story, and his band is surely amongst the most purely gifted artists in our city. The Epic is a cause for celebration whichever way you look at it, and as its creator, Washington deserves all the acclaim coming his way.”

Happy 85th Birthday Ornette Coleman!

Lucky enough to have seen Ornette and Prime Time a couple of times in San Francisco in the 1980s, including one of the shows from the poster below..


Ornette Celebrates 85th birthday with Cecil Taylor

Still Going Strong!

Vox Dei and Pappo – Classic Argentine Rock