Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project
May 21, 2015
Last fall, Philadelphia Jazz Project developed a unique challenge for DJs, producers, electronic musicians, turntablists and anyone that understands the sampling sport. An open call was issued to this creative community to create instrumental tracks that could support vocals from singers, poets, and/or rappers, as well as solos by instrumentalists to honor the immeasurable imaginative genius of the late Philadelphia, visionary musician, philosopher, composer and band leader, Sun Ra [1914 to 1993] on the occasion of his 101st birthday May 22, 2015.
With permission from the Sun Ra Estate to utilize music from the El Saturn Records archive as source material, we exposed the project participants to the significance and artistry of Sun Ra, one of the most prolific and most musically adventurous artists in the Jazz pantheon. Sun Ra pioneered the use of synthesizers and electronic instruments long before it became fashionable. His musical palette was broad enough to include the swing of Fletcher Henderson to the minimalism of Post-WWII avant-garde composers, like John Cage. If you think Sun Ra was all about bright lights and pretty colors, you are in for a wild ride. Just listening to any of his compositions is a unique experience and examining his catalogue is an invaluable “one of a kind “musical education.
We for-warned the participants to expect to do something different rhythmically with this project. Most times we think of a normal drum loop as a circle...and the circle as if it’s a tire on a car. So then, a beat feels like riding in a car. However, artists like Sun Ra don't do circles. They push and pull that circle into various elliptical forms. Now, imagine riding in a car with elliptical tires. The tires still have a rotation, but unlike circular motion it is not predictable. It is, in fact, a new and different movement.
This mixtape series features some of the most progressive and visionary artists in the region.
Participating artists include;
▪ Trumpeter & Sun Ra Arkestra Alumnus - Fred Adams
▪ Jazz Vocalist - Ella Gahnt
▪ Rapper & Hiphop producer - Twizzmatic
▪ NYC Interdisciplinary Artist - Lloyd Lawrence
▪ Baltimore-based Hiphop producer - Brian Thompson
▪ Pianist & Sun Ra Arkestra member - Farid Barron
▪ Poet/Playwright - Pheralyn Dove
▪ Poet/Rapper/Visual Artist - Bernard Collins
▪ Hiphop/Dance producer - Arcka
▪ Pianist & Vocalist - V. Shayne Frederick
▪ Saxophonist/Poet - Elliott Levin
▪ Poet/Rapper - Yolanda Wisher
▪ Poet - Lamont Dixon
▪ and many others
To download and/or learn more about this series, CLICK HERE.
Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Painted Bride Art Center, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation