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Mysterious Traveler - Matthew Stewart

Matthew Stewart 1

Mysterious Traveler 3 Concert Series

February 13, 2017 - 7PM | Matthew Stewart

Parkway Central Library | Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189


All events in this series are FREE.


Mysterious Travelers 3: Internal Investigations - a collaboration between The Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Jazz Project. Back by overwhelming popular demand! FREE concerts every fourth Monday night from September 2016 through May 2017 audiences will hear from veteran, as well as up-and-coming musicians who are shaping the future sounds of Philadelphia with a sharp ear to the legacies of our past. This season will directly celebrate the massive and amazing collections of the Free Library by granting our performers access to explore them as a source of inspiration for the creation of new musical works and arrangements


Matthew Stewart is a Wilmington, Delaware-based trumpeter. A student of legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd, Stewart works with Sonic Liberation Front, and The Wilmington Creative Music Collective. He performed with PJP’s Another Holiday For Skins ensemble and participated in Lush Life: Philadelphia Celebrates Billy Strayhorn as part of the OutBeat Jazz Festival. He also served as music director for PJP’s Ted Curson Tribute Ensemble, Quicksand. Matthew Stewart has also toured the world with the band, Streetlight Manifesto and attended New Jersey City University.



Check out this video with Matthew Stewart featured as soloist and music director in PJP's 2015, Bill Barron / Ted Curson Celebration.


Trumpeter and composer, Matthew Stewart will be our next guest artist in the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series.


PJP spoke with Matthew Stewart, about his music, approach and the new project that he will reveal in the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series.


PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction


Matthew Stewart: With this project, I wanted to musically detail a piece of lesser known history that had its centering in Philadelphia. Basically, I wanted to reference the history of how Free and Sundry Moors, Enslaved Africans, and Africoid-Native Americans were combined into the racial group known as African American; a racial grouping in America whose origins dip into antiquity and is often too overlooked and understudied in reference to its importance concerning greater human history. So, in this project I wanted to use rhythms and motives characteristic of these three cultures and as the piece progressed, it would evolve into something brilliantly, vibrant and alive that was both undeniably ancient and undeniably eminent.


Matthew Stewart 2PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Matthew Stewart: To be honest, I listened to Duke Ellington a fair amount and I also listened to a few works by Wynton Marsalis. The heritage music of the pantheon that I thought reminded me of Al Andalus such as John Coltrane’s - Ole, Miles Davis' - Sketches of Spain, Gil Evan's - Svengali, Jazzanovas - belle et and the Hiphop artist, MF Doom.


PJP: What are you going to present at the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series?


Matthew Stewart: I will be performing a musical work. That tells the story of the Freedman's Bureau, which was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. This concert will shed light on it and the people it was intended to help.


PJP: Why is this theme/concept so important? Can you explain your process and the steps that led to this performance?


Matthew Stewart: I believe this is an important intersection in American history that helps to answer many questions we may have as to how and from which cultures this "thing" here in this country has its roots. Much of the preparation has honestly been in historical research in order to find a binding story for the music that the listener should be able to relate to. I initially used the Philadelphia Demographics, from the United States Goverment Census Records from 1850 to 1960 as a key resource. I also read, Sex And Race, by historian, J.A. Rogers and the Larousse Encyclopedia of Ancient and Medieval History.


Matthew Stewart 3PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?


Matthew Stewart: Well first, it was honestly about a year of studying the lectures and writing of Ivan Van Sertima, Jose Pemienta Bey, David Mac Richie, J. A. Rodgers and Frances Cress Welsing. I had to find enough historical and scientific information to make a cohesive story line that illustrated the points I wanted conveyed through the piece, its called " Ay'Yo." Then, the next challenge was to try to make the ideas fit in a quartet format and get it to be "something" within a half an hour. All without boring an audience.


Well, the newest component of the story would be of myself and my shared experiences with people I have known throughout my life. So in order to keep things fresh and stimulating I honestly just tried to make something that didn’t bore me and couldn’t be immediately referenced. I figured that if I did that using the elements of the past that stuck out for me the most, and then it would be new enough.


PJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?


Matthew Stewart:  Just try to relax and listen, if it compels you, then freely be compelled.


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


Matthew Stewart:  I like this medium because it is formless and has an enormously rich palette from which to draw musical ideas. It’s also familiar to people in the most intimate of ways. They know it, whether they know that they know it, or not and I love that. I just love how surprised people are, when they like, and relate to this music is truly fulfilling and I am honored to be a part of that in someway.



Mysterious Traveler 3 Concert Series

February 13, 2017 - 7PM | Matthew Stewart

Parkway Central Library | Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189


All events in this series are FREE.


Mysterious Traveler 3 - Internal Investigations Concert Series is produced by Philadelphia Jazz Project in collaboration with The Free Library of Philadelphia.



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



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Tags : MysteriousTraveler3 InternalInvestigations FreeLibraryofPhiladelphia MatthewStewart Trumpet DonaldByrd TedCurson DukeEllington WyntonMarsalis AnotherHolidayForSkins StreetlightManifesto Freedman'sBureau FreeandSundryMoors EnslavedAfricans NativeAmericans UnitedStatesGovermentCensusRecords J.A.Rogers LarousseEncyclopediaofAncientandMedievalHistory



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