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Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project

Still The New Thing!



In the 1950s, a group of musicians diverged from the pack and set the worked on fire. Their approaches openly challenged the prevailing process and caused tensions within the American musical community. Some championed them and their efforts. Others vehemently opposed them and others, even brought their opinions to the point of violence. Three of these pioneering, creative spirits; Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra are the subject of a festival curated by saxophonist, Bobby Zankel.

Titled, Still the New Thing! this festival provides Philadelphia with a chance to baste in the spotlight as the international community looks on with amazement, while these once-in-a-lifetime events happen in the city of Brotherly Love. Shepp Celebrating the pioneers of the Jazz avant garde is a special opportunity to understand the place of Philadelphia in Jazz history. Home to John Coltrane, the legendary Hasaan, Bill Barron, Jymie Merritt, Odean Pope, Archie Shepp, Sonny Murray and the Sun Ra Arkestra, JymiePhilly has deep roots in what would be called the New Thing of the 1960s. Coltrane's place is etched into Jazz memory. Hasaan, though relatively obscure, would grow to be recognized as a colleague of Trane's and Jymie Merritt's Forerunner concept is still a under-appreciated revolutionary musical strategy. Philadelphians Bill Barron and Ted Curson worked in early Cecil Taylor ensembles. Later, SunnyArchie Shepp and Sonny Murray, who is the creator of non-metric drumming would join Cecil Taylor's unit. Bassist, Jamaaladeen Tacuma would join Ornette Coleman's musical family in the late 1970s and be the first of many Philadelphian's to work with the alto saxophonist. Finally, the Sun Ra Arkestra has called Philadelphia home for more than 40 years and the impact of their stay on the community is almost immeasurable.

"This music is a big tree with many branches. These special artists, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra did not break with the tradition. Their music is an extension of what came before them. They worked to technically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually extend themselves to places where they had never gone before and took the risks to try that. Looking at these masters as inspirations, we as contemporary artists need to explore all the possibilities and create from a place of courage, joy and hope." says Zankel. He and his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound organization, along with the Painted Bride Art Center, Ars Nova Workshop and Philadelphia Jazz Project came together to make this remarkable celebration happen. You owe it to yourself to experience this slice of history in the making.


Three special performances celebrate three exceptional artists.


1. Cecil Taylor's 85th Birthday Celebration












Saturday, March 8th, 2014  - 8:00pm
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street
Phila., PA 19106

Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone, Dave Burrell, piano, Henry Grimes, bass, William Parker, bass, Andrew Cyrille, drums


Featuring an all star ensemble of Cecil Taylor Unit alumni: Zankel, Grimes, Parker and Cyrille, along with special guest pianist, Philadelphia's Dave Burrell.


2. Ornette Coleman's 84th Birthday Celebration












Friday, March 21, 2014 - 8:00pm
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street
Phila., PA 19106


Denardo Coleman Group
Denardo Coleman, drums, Tony Falanga & Al MacDowell, bass, Charlie Ellerbee, electric guitar, Antoine Roney, tenor saxophone;

The great saxophonist’s son, drummer, Denardo Coleman has been working extensively with his father since he was ten years old. He has gone on to record and produce many of Ornette’s recordings as well as collaborating extensively with the poet Jayne Cortez.


Jamaaladeen Tacuma Band
Jamaaladeen Tacuma, el. bass, Wolfgang Puschnig, hojak + alto saxophone, Terry Adkins, tenor saxophone, Yoichi Uzeki, piano + keyboards, Charlie Ellerbee, el. guitar, Khary Abdul-Shaheed, drums, G. Calvin Weston, drums


In the mid 1970s, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma joined Coleman’s Prime Time band, and performed on the historic recordings Dancing in Your Head, Body Meta, and Of Human Feelings. Over the years, Tacuma has collaborated with a diverse array of artists like Carlos Santana, James Blood Ulmer, Pharoah Sanders, Odean Pope, and James Carter.


3. Celebration of the Music of Sun Ra











Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 8:00pm
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine Street
Phila., PA 19106


Sun Ra Arkestra
Under the direction of saxophonist, Marshall Allen, who has been an integral element in the Sun Ra Arkestra for more than 60 years, the Arkestra continues to push the envelope and challenge audiences and artists alike, while keeping true to Sun Ra's celestial legacy.

Warriors of the Wonderful Sound
The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, a big band assembled by Bobby Zankel in 2001 which performs his compositions, as well as the music of composers like Julius Hemphill, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Coleman and Muhal Richard Abrams.


For more information and tickets go to The Painted Bride Website:


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Tags : CecilTaylor SunRa OrnetteColeman WarriorsoftheWonderfulSound PaintedBrideArtCenter ArsNovaWorkshop BobbyZankel DaveBurrell HenryGrimes WilliamParker AndrewCyrille DenardoColemanGroup CharlieEllerbee AntoineRoney JamaaladeenTacumaBand SunRaArkestra MarshallAllen


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Philly Jazz Quotes

On my first record with him, I used no notes, just sound... I never played as powerfully as I did with Sunny Murray... he plays pulse, not beats.
Byard Lancaster

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