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Return Of The Sound Warriors


For the past few years, saxophonist, composer and band leader, Bobby Zankel and his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, have been busy presenting cutting-edge music to enthusiastic crowds in various locations around the city. This year, Zankel returns with four concerts of big band music centered around his 13 piece ensemble, The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, augmented by special musical guests like Rene McLean, William Parker, Dave Burrell, Muhammad Ali and dancer/choreographer, Raphael Xavier.

Rene McLeanThe series of concerts runs from November thru January at the Painted Bride Art Center. Also participating in this multi-organizational collaboration is Ars Nova Workshop.

PJP caught up with Bobby Zankel to ask him about the series and the work of Warriors of the Wonderful Sound.

PJP: What was the inspiration for creating this series?

Zankel: The world's greatest music has been created by working bands that played together consistently, so I have been struggling in different ways to create an opportunity for this type of development. The "Still The New Thing Festival" proved that there is a large audience for progressive music and the Painted Bride has been a great  supporter and presenting partner, for our projects for a long time. 


This season’s series is centered on the spirit of appreciation. On November 10th, we will be celebrating the great life of Jackie McLean in the best way; by bringing his masterful son, Rene McLean to perform and share some of his compositions. On December 7th, we will celebrate the birthday of the great Hip-hop choreographer, Raphael Xavier and perform from his epic “Raphstravaganza”. On January 21st, we will celebrate the 60th birthday of William Parker, with special guests, Dave Burrell and Muhammad Ali.

William ParkerPJP: Why is big band Jazz music important to preserve and support?

Zankel: As a very young musician, I spent my formative years working in the large ensemble of Cecil Taylor, who gave us new compositions to work on continuously utilizing the most modern concepts, but also shared a deep reverence for the tradition we were a part of (Lunceford, Ellington, Basie, Hampton, Gillespie, Sun Ra....). Both from the human (social) and musical perspectives, it is an incomparable joy to be part of, or listen to a large group of like-minded, but unique individuals working towards the same goal.
PJP: What does the audience have in store for them?

Dave BurrellZankel: The audience can be confident that they will be embraced with the "sound of surprise," brilliant playing, and an avalanche of feeling! The different guests guarantee four very different events and they will frankly be amazed, by how well the Warriors play together and by their mastery and unique qualities as soloists.





Special Guest: Award-winning woodwind master Rene McLean

Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street, Phila., PA 19106




Special Guest:  Raphael Xavier & Company

Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street, Phila., PA 19106


Special Guests: William Parker / Dave Burrell / Muhammad Ali

Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street, Phila., PA 19106


For more information or tickets visit:

Ars Nova Workshop or Painted Bride Art Center



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Tags : BobbyZankel WarriorsoftheWonderfulSound StillTheNewThingFestival PaintedBride ArsNovaWorkshop BigBand WilliamParker DaveBurrell MuhammadAli RaphaelXavier ReneMcLean CecilTaylor


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