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First Friday! At the Barnes: Erica Corbo - American Odyssey

Erica Corbo 00001

First Friday! At the Barnes: Erica Corbo - American Odyssey

July 5th, 2019 at 6pm

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

Philadelphia, PA 19130

FOR TICKETS

 

First Friday! is a monthly music program at the Barnes Foundation featuring a wide range of musical traditions including - but not limited to- jazz, classical, funk and folk music. Philadelphia Jazz Project is once again thrilled to participate as part of the Barnes Foundation’s First Friday! concert series presenting Erica Corbo: American Odyssey. Musician and performance artist Erica Corbo combines improvisation and thoughtful composition to explore what it means to be American. A talented vocalist, Corbo also plays the piano and the flute. Accompanied by a versatile chamber ensemble, she will lead a humorous and heartfelt dive into the American musical experience— showcasing folk, spirituals, blues, classical, jazz, funk, rock, and more.

 

Erica Corbo is a professional musician and performance artist native to the Philadelphia area. Implementing her talents mainly on the piano, she also performs as a flutist, vocalist, and dancer. Her work spans the disciplines of jazz, free improv, and original music. Believing in music as a universal language, Corbo approaches her playing from a strong melodic standpoint, while leaving room for experimentation with dissonance and atonality. Extensive knowledge of the Alexander Technique empowers her playing with a physical balance and grace. Corbo leads her own small jazz ensemble on piano and voice, and also performs solo piano. She plays with and manages the free improv ensemble, Space Whale Orchestra, and works as a solo improv artist. Erica Corbo performs original music from her latest album, “I, America,” in her stage show, “An American Odyssey Through Space and Time,” and is writing a musical of the same name. She is the pianist and Minister of Music at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in Yeadon, PA, and teaches private lessons and group classes in piano, flute, and improvisation.

 

PJP spoke with Erica Corbo about her music and the upcoming performance at The Barnes Foundation.

 

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical background?

 

Erica Corbo 000002Erica Corbo: I'm a professional musician and performance artist mainly playing piano, but also working as a vocalist and a flutist. My first instrument was flute, which I learned in the public school system in Plymouth Meeting.  After being told flute could not join jazz band, I started studying the piano around age 11, and it became my favorite instrument. I also sang in choirs all throughout my youth, and in college. I grew up listening to many kinds of music including the rock-n-roll that my parents loved, the 90s rock that I loved, and also timeless jazz, blues, world music, and movie soundtracks.  All of those influences can be heard in the main areas of my music performance: my original music, jazz, and free-improv.

 

PJP: What is your upcoming performance, “American Odyssey,” which will be presented at the Barnes Foundation all about?

 

Erica Corbo: American Odyssey” is my life-long epic quest!  It’s my journey to find a way to express the enormity of conflicting and harmonious multitudes that life encases. I feel like America is a perfect microcosm for all of existence, because it is the confluence of Everything. It is full of so many contradictions and tensions, but out of this turmoil comes some of the most beautiful things that humans have ever created. The show at the Barnes will be another one of my attempts to express this experience poetically through the sequencing of music, poetry, and performance.

 

PJP: What was your approach to creating for this project?

 

Erica Corbo 00003Erica Corbo:I generally take an intuitive approach to most creative planning. Meaning, I let a bunch of ideas come into my head, without thinking whether or not they exactly fit the theme, and without knowing exactly what it is I want to say. I write everything down on a big blank piece of paper, look at what I have, and mold it into something beautiful. The first thing I did was write down any song that came to me, that I thought I would like to include.  Then, I started collecting quotes of poetry and prose by American authors. Then, I edited everything down and sequenced it into something that expressed the emotional and philosophical content I was searching for. I think if you try to control too many aspects of the creative process, you crowd out grace. Genuine, non-forced inspiration often leads to truth.

 

PJP: Who is working with you on this project?

 

Erica Corbo: I am directing and planning this project myself.  The band that I am working with is the free-improv ensemble that I play with and manage- Space Whale Orchestra. This currently includes Steve Davit on saxes, Dan Moser on bass, Mick Ricereto on clarinets, and Connor Przybyszewski on trombones. They have been helping me troubleshoot and tweak some arrangements, which has been really helpful!  Space Whale has been playing together as a group for about 10 years. We started as an improvised music ensemble at Drexel University, and have gone through many transformations since our college days. I made a conscious choice not to use a drummer or percussionist in this ensemble, so you will truly have a unique chamber ensemble experience!

 

PJP: When participating in this project, what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?

 

Erica Corbo 000003Erica Corbo: My advice to the audience would be to always keep an open mind...it’s ok to not know what’s going on, or to feel confused when you are experiencing art- just go for a ride!  I like to tell stories with my performance, but they are not linear. The stories are more of a poetic collage of impressions and emotions that add up to an overall statement of existence in America.  In this show, you are going to hear many songs and genres of music, all arranged for our charmingly-awkward-but-somehow-still-elegant chamber ensemble! It’s basically the bill of my dreams: to have Dvorak, the Ramones, Tower of Power, and Gershwin, all back to back!

 

PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why Jazz?

 

Erica Corbo: I actually do a lot of things other than Jazz, but I do them all with a Jazz mindset. As a genre, I keep going back to Jazz as my foundation because of the intense understanding of music that it requires, and even more importantly, because of the joy that it brings me!  Swing is extremely fun, and it heals. The study of jazz breeds a flexible and broad mindset, and I try to approach all of my other music making the same way.

 

Connect With Erica Corbo & Space Whale Orchestra via her WEBSITE or INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK

 

First Friday! At the Barnes: Erica Corbo & American Odyssey

July 5th, 2019 at 6pm

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

Philadelphia, PA 19130

FOR TICKETS

 

 

Check Out Erica Corbo In Action In These Videos

 

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.