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Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project

The Drum Speaks


Another Holiday For Skins is a special performance featuring an all star ensemble of Philadelphia drummers, percussionists and other musicians. This event is a 21st century celebration of the classic 1958 album “Holiday For Skins” and its sister projects, “Drum Suite” and “Orgy In Rhythm.” Recorded by master drummer, Art Blakey, who was joined by Philly Joe Jones, Sabu Martinez, Ray Bryant and others, "Holiday For Skins" was an early exploration of what we now call “World Music.”


   skinscover1    drum suite    orgy rhythm


This new project features an all star ensemble of local percussion masters and will be directed by legendary Philadelphia percussionists, Robert Kenyatta and Doc Gibbs. They are joined by co-producer, promoter/organizer Jesse Bermudez. We asked them about their own work, this project and what it means today.



PJP: What inspires you?


Robert Kenyatta: As a child, I was actually inspired by seeing and hearing the Natives, the Black people in Tarzan movies and later on, by seeing and hearing Ricky Ricardo playing his drum on the “I Love Lucy” show.  My musical direction has always been to perform World Music, with the intention of connecting and entertaining various ethnic cultures.


Doc Gibbs: I love to “fuse” different drum and percussion instruments from various cultures into a mix of exciting rhythms. Bringing together drums from Guinea, West Africa, and incorporating the congas from Cuba. I’m inspired by nature and my environment first and foremost. From there, I’m inspired by the enjoyment people get from listening or playing music.


Jesse Bermudez: As a kid, I was fascinated by music and entertainment. My musical journey wasn’t a straight line, like other people; who knew that they wanted to to be an artist. I had diversions and turns, but it all brought me back to the music, only from a different perspective. I wasn’t thinking about being an artist, but I was thinking of what artists needed.



PJP: What is the upcoming Another Holiday For Skins project/performance about?


Doc Gibbs: I am a co-musical director along with Robert Kenyatta for the “Another Holiday for Skins Project“ which involves recreating music that Art Blakey recorded in the 1950’s with musicians, hand drummers, and a whole lot of rhythm!


Robert Kenyatta: This upcoming performance is about a Jazz Artist (Art Blakey) who recorded an Album in 1958 called, “Holiday for Skins”. Blakey who realized the importance of the drum fused complimentary enthusiasms into one (Our Jazz, African Rhythms, and the limitless potential of the drum). We’ve come together to bring to you another “Holiday for Skins”, a performance of his story and ours.



Jesse Bermudez: It’s about the past and reliving the past, particularly in this situation where we’re talking about pioneering, master musicians like Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones and Sabu Martinez who came together to make musical history. Its about contemporary artists taking that experience from the past and using it as inspiration and to play off of it while creating something new, even as they recreating this classic music.

PJP: Why is it important?


Doc Gibbs: The “Holiday for Skins Project” is important not only because it highlights some of Philadelphia’s incredible drummers, who stand on the shoulders of drummers past, some, have even performed on the Holiday for Skins albums. It is also important because it gives the people an opportunity to experience a collaboration between the African influenced hand drums, accompanied by set drums, musicians and vocalist bringing energy, exciting from a time long ago.



Robert Kenyatta: This historical event is important because we will be presenting his (Art Blakey’s) legacy entwined with our legacy.


Jesse Bermudez: It’s just as important as knowing one’s roots. Its all the same thing. You want to learn the roots of the music, so that you can understand and hopefully be able to expand on those ideas and take them to another level. Its about maintaining the culture the music. This how we do this, by acknowledging, celebrating, living and making this music available to the masses.



Another Holiday For Skins: A Drum Celebration

Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.

International House - Ibrahim Theater
3701 Chestnut Street, Phila., PA 19104


Featuring Philadelphia Percussionists:
Pablo Batista, Doc Gibbs, Ron Howerton, Robert Kenyatta, Christian Gabriel Noguera, Charlie Patierno, Khary Abdul Shaheed

Joined by:

Piano & Arrangements: Luke Carlos O’Reilly

Bass - Mike Boone

Vocals - Shamika Byrd

Brass - Randy Kapralick & Matthew Stewart

Flutes - Elijah Thomas

Music Directors/Co-Producers: Robert Kenyatta / Doc Gibbs


Tickets $15 [$20 at the door]



Robert Kenyatta is a master percussionist and educator, who started out by playing on his mother’s oatmeal boxes and graduated to her pots and pans. Mr. Kenyatta bought his first ’‘real‘’ Conga drum at age 12 and learned to play by listening to Latin and Jazz radio stations. He studied flute, harmony and theory at the Philadelphia Music Academy. Robert Kenyatta has worked with musicians such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wilson Pickett, the Beach Boys, Johnny Hartman, The O‘Jays, Ruth Brown, Billy Paul, The Intruders, Spanky De Brest, Eddie Campbell, Rufus Harley, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, Elvin Jones, Herbie Mann, Lee Morgan, Odean Pope, Philly Joe Jones, Dotti and Andy Aaron and the Soul Machine Band and others.


Leonard "Doc" Gibbs is a master percussionist and educator. Gibbs studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1970s. He has toured with artists such as Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Bob James, Ricki Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, Grover Washington, Jr., Wyclef Jean, Erykah Badu, Eric Bennett, and James Poysner. He acquired the nickname "Doc" after suggesting herbal remedies to jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. Gibbs headed the house band on the popular Food Network television show Emeril Live hosted by Emeril Lagasse, until it was cancelled in December 2007.


Jesse Bermudez was Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of the Asociación de Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA), a non-profit multicultural organization that promoted the development and dissemination of Latin music, with an emphasis on educating and empowering youth and community. He continues to advocate making Latin music part of the fabric of the City of Philadelphia. Currently, Jesse Bermudez and Ray Collazo host and facilitate; a 24 hour Latin Jazz and Salsa internet-based radio station.


Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Painted Bride Art Center, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.


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Tags : AnotherHolidayForSkins HolidayForSkins ArtBlakey PhillyJoeJones SabuMartinez RayBryant RobertKenyatta DocGibbs PabloBatista JesseBermudez Afro-CubaDrums Drums AfricanDrums JazzDrums


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