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Satellites #8 - Erica Corbo

Satellites Erica CorboSatellites #8

June 20th, 2018 / 8pm

Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104


For Tickets: CLICK HERE



Continuing the exploration started by our Sun Ra Mixtape Series celebrating the influence of the Philadelphia, visionary musician, philosopher, composer and band leader, Sun Ra, Philadelphia Jazz Project present, Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra. This concert series features 8 performances at some of the region's most important venues including; The Barnes Foundation, Ardmore Music Hall, Johnny Brenda's, The Planetarium of The Franklin Institute and World Cafe Live. Hosted by WRTI radio deejay, J. Michael Harrison.


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, Erica 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 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 Satellites Concert #8


PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?

Erica Corbo 2Erica Corbo: My musical direction and goal is to walk the bridge between pop music and avant-garde, melody and chaos, harmony and dissonance, structure and deconstruction. I love pop music and experimental music equally, and my favorite thing about Jazz and modern music in general is that there’s room for all of it. Sun Ra is the perfect example of an artist who unifies all these different dichotomies into one single artistic vision.

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

Erica Corbo: I love when music is theatrical, and I also love musicians who are bold enough to be themselves. Thelonious Monk has been a lifelong inspiration for me because of his uniqueness and because he seems to encompass everything in the world. As a child, I was inspired by my dad’s stories of seeing Sun Ra live - his outfits and antics as well as his music. That inspiration continued when I started to see the Sun Ra Arkestra live as directed under Marshall Allen. My teacher and mentor from my college years, Farid Barron, [who is also the pianist in the Sun Ra Arkestra Under The Direction Of Marshall Allen] made a big impression on me. I can also thank my parents for my love of The Kinks. Ray Davies’ theatrical style of singing, songwriting, and performing has been a huge influence on my singing and performance style.


PJP: Tell us about the mixtape series that inspired this concert series.

Erica Corbo: When Philadelphia Jazz Project [PJP] put on Philly’s first John Coltrane Festival, Space Whale Orchestra played a set as a trio. We did a few free improv pieces along with a version of Coltrane’s, "Naima." Homer Jackson, director of PJP contacted us a few months later saying that he wanted to use a track or two from our performance for the Sun Ra mixtape series. We were of course delighted by this! The mixtapes display a great meeting of Philadelphia musicians from all different backgrounds celebrating the diverse spirit of one of our finest hometown heroes.


PJP: Tell us about the Satellites concert series. What are your going to present at World Cafe Live?

Erica Corbo: The Satellites Concert Series is a live continuation of the mixtape series. My favorite thing about it is that each gig showcases a different band of hand-picked diverse musicians from Philadelphia, with an established group at its core. Each concert is unique - with a new band and a new setlist - which makes it all the more magical. It’s been very exciting for me to work with so many other like-minded musicians. I’m hoping to present a setlist that will display the diversity and multifaceted nature of Sun Ra’s music. And get ready to dance!


PJP: Why is this theme/concept so important?

Erica Corbo 3Erica Corbo: Variety is the spice of life, and I think that’s something that Sun Ra really understood. I also think there’s something really special about building a community of local musicians, and supporting the music and arts scene of the city that has birthed many of us, and nourished us all. Also, spontaneity often creates magical musical moments. So throwing together a bunch of people, some of whom have never played together before, for a Sun Ra tribute sounds perfect to me.


PJP: Who is working with you on this?

Erica Corbo: We’ve got a long list of wonderful musicians! There's the Space Whale Orchestra and we’re delighted to work with the Eye2Eye Trio and the Three Bones, as well as the additional players too. It's a pretty large group.


Space Whale Orchestra:

Mick Ricereto - clarinets

Stephen Davit - tenor & baritone sax

Ted Schneider - alto sax

Erica Corbo - piano and flute


Eye2Eye Trio:

Bert Harris - bass

Elliott Levin - tenor sax & flute

Kimpedro Rodriguez - drums


Three Bones:

Connor Przybyszewski - trombone

Frank Rein - trombone

Dan Blacksberg - trombone


Parris Love - vocals

Tara Middleton  - vocals

DM Hotep - guitarist

ELLECT - rapper

*Special Guest Poet: Lenny Belasco




**Special Performance by interdisciplinary artist - Sherman Fleming

***As well as film excerpts from the works of interdisciplinary artist - Taji Nahl

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


Erica Corbo: I would say that music is a ride and it’s like life. There are ups and downs...times when you are confused, or times when you feel clarity...times when you feel comfortable and others when you feel safe. Be OK with any and all sensations and overall, HAVE FUN!!!!!! Otherwise, there’s no point to life. 


Satellites Slimshot 606

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


Erica Corbo: Although I love all types of music, jazz is the most living music that I’ve ever heard and felt. It seems so alive and fluid, and can meet you wherever you are. Also, it seems to take a weight off my shoulders. It makes me feel lighter, makes me feel more creative, and it makes me want to move around. It helps reduce pain and muscle tension! In jazz, there is space for everything. There’s space for every other style of music. There’s space for silence and space for screaming. There’s space for tradition and trailblazing, exploration and safety. There’s space for joy and space for pain…...SPACE IS THE PLACE ! :)


Keep up with Erica Corbo's creative activity via or WEBSITE or BANDCAMP or SOUNCDCLOUD or YOUTUBE or FACEBOOK.


Satellites #8

June 20th, 2018 / 8pm

Satellites Are Spinning: A Sizzling, Sonic Celebration of Sun Ra
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104


For Tickets: CLICK HERE



Check out Erica Corbo on David Bowie's, "Space Oddity" from Satellites #4



Special Thanks: The Sun Ra Estate, Irwin Chusid, Michael Anderson, J. Michael Harrison, Kim Pedro Rodriguez, DMHotep, Antoine Haywood, Gralin Hughes, James Solomon, Nija Walker, Bobby Zankel, Jay Levin, Agent Zero, Eric Bogacz, Alex Santilli, Gary Dann, Anthony Tidd, Dmani Lopez, Dan Blacksberg, V. Shayne Frederick, Asha Jackson, Julia Lopez, Melissa Talley Palmer, Gail Fountaine, Stephanie Seiple and Rich Nichols.


For more information about Sun Ra:

Sun Ra Estate Website
Sun Ra Arkestra Website
Sun Ra Facebook
Mission Creep Sun Ra Resources
Pitchfork's Essential Sun Ra Music
The Sun Ra Music Archive
Perfect Sound Forever Sun Ra Article
University of Chicago Sun Ra Exhibit

Stay tuned for details about this series!!!


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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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