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Voices Of The People - Paul Jost

Paul JostVoices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


The Philadelphia Jazz Project continues as we carry the spirit of Philadelphia into the second weekend of July 2017. In collaboration with Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Parks On Tap and Jazz Near You, The Philadelphia Jazz Project presents: Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers; a three-day, vocal festival featuring over a dozen of Philly's finest vocal talents, including Barbara Montgomery, Rhenda Fearrington, Raimundo Santos Ella Gahnt and Lili Anel.


Paul Jost is an eclectic artist. A vocalist, drummer, arranger and composer who performs frequently in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey along with recent tours in South Korea, Ireland and Germany. In New York, he has a residency at the acclaimed jazz room 55 Bar and can be heard there the last Wednesday of every month.  Paul also performs frequently at SMOKE, Kitano and many other venues throughout the city.  His solo CD, Breaking Through (Dot Time Records) continues to receive raves worldwide, and he has two CD’s being released in the fall of 2017 – “Peace and Love” (The Jost Project) and “Born to Run Reimagined” with his ensemble that features Jim Ridl, John Swana, Donald Edwards, Tony Miceli and Chico Huff.  Every Sunday night in July, Paul will perform with the Orrin Evans trio at South Jazz Parlor in Philadelphia.  Paul can be heard on SiriusXM Radio.


PJP spoke with Paul Jost about his work and the Voices of the People Celebration.

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?


Paul Jost: May sound a little loose, but I just try my best to follow where the inspiration takes me. There's an endless stream of possibilities, if I can keep myself open and available to the


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


Paul Jost: I can't point to specific pivotal influences because they keep multiplying. I'm constantly influenced by the creativity I hear all around me in so many genres. From the legends to the young lions, the famous and the unknown, the teachers and the students. It's everywhere. Again, that's the thing about keeping yourself open. If you can do that and keep a sense of humility and gratitude it seems like there are more and more sources to draw from and more people to help you and willing to share ideas with you.


PJP: Philadelphia has an enormous pool of talented musicians, what’s it like to be selected for the Voices Of The People: Celebration Of Singers?


Paul Jost: Of course it's an honor any time you're acknowledged, but this is especially sweet for me because Philly is an overflowing wellspring of creativity. I've never felt more alive, more focused, creative, freer or younger. Music and the love of family and friends (and time), can do that to you.


PJP: Why is this event important?


VOTPPaul Jost: Well, I think every event that brings people together, particularly under the umbrella of music is important. There's a reason why it's called "The Universal Language." Music is an art form that can be done singularly but also the only one other than dance that can be done by a community of people. That's what I love about music. When we connect. It's in the kindness and connection of our spirits that means everything to me. Our brief intersecting journeys as we pass through becoming the fabric of each other's fingerprint. I am profoundly grateful for each and every encounter and Music Festivals and Jazz Festivals in particular seem to speak to that more than any of the others.


I am NOT a Jazz elitist and never call myself a "Jazz" singer. But, here's the thing I've witnessed about Jazz Festivals. Jazz can carry the weight and bear the expressions of great pain and anger, or pathos and strength and sorrow and joy and love...everything there is to express. The same can be said of other genres of music too, but I never see drunken displays, or people out of control, or violence at Jazz Festivals. When I play a Jazz festival I see people of all kinds coming together in peace, and in harmony. I'm not saying people there are without baggage or differing thoughts and opinions, but there's a different current running through them. I saw the same thing in Germany, Ireland and South Korea.


I was lucky to perform at the John Coltrane Festival last summer and it took place before the election. While there, with my wife (and daughter and 4 year old granddaughter running in the park), I was looking at the community and it felt like a grand picnic, and I thought to myself, "This is the America I love. This is the America I believe in. This is the America I want". And music is the conduit. When I go to hear the great Philadelphia Orchestra, I see musicians of all religions, non-religions, ethnicities, political persuasions, male, female, short, tall, etc, etc. and they all come together to play in tune and in harmony as well. All while under the direction of a conductor who is most often conducting the music of another person. To me it's an expression of humanity at it's finest and it's most malleable, it's most tolerant and passionate and forgiving and understanding. And Jazz is America's classical music. That's why this event is important to me.


PJP: What are you going to present at Voices Of The People?


Paul Jost: My given topic is Freedom, so I picked some things that express different types of freedom. "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Freedom Jazz Dance", "Blackbird." Though my arrangements are different, those are fairly obvious title choices, but I also chose, "I Don't Need No Doctor." and "Caravan" and a few other things I want to keep as a surprise.


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


Paul Jost 2Paul Jost: I have to go back to the idea of keeping yourself open and allowing options and possibilities to present themselves. Stay open to everything. Really give things a chance. I didn't always embrace that philosophy the way I do now because when we start out we collect a lot of untested opinions and are so easily swayed by the opinions of others. I'll tell you what though, you'll never be hurt by going back and listening to anything by Louis Armstrong. And you can't get hurt by listening to Jacob Collier either.


You have to keep an ear on the past, an ear on the present and an eye on the future. That goes for music and everything else. I feel bad sometimes when I talk with someone longing for the past. I get it, I do, and I hear myself say some of those things too, but the past is always colored with a bit of romanticism. There were great things going on in the past, but there are great things going on in every "present". You have to know that. You have to have faith that that's true, even if you can't always see it. Sometimes it's just below the surface or clouded by rhetoric, but it's there and it will always be there. There's just no end. And...we can learn some good things from not so great sources too! If you stay open, sometimes learning what NOT to do is as powerful (maybe more) than learning what TO do.


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


Paul Jost: Just to be mindful of the people around you. Listening is a shared experience and I want to be part of a meaningful memory that only we can create together right then and there. If given a chance, I know we can connect. I know that in my heart. I also know I won't be "the most amazing thing you've ever heard!", but if allowed, I'll give you everything I have. Nothing will be hidden or contrived. It will be honest, and it will swing and it will groove and be expressive and passionate and fun, and you may even shed a tear. What it WON'T be is a science project. As artists, we're under no obligation to
make our art palatable, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong in connecting with the audience either. The difference is in how we connect. How we vibrate the common threads we share. Nothing means more to me than someone saying afterward that they heard a lyric or felt a song in a different way than they had before, or as when an elderly woman came up and said, "I never liked jazz and especially the scatting, but I do now".


A few months ago, when I came off the stage, a professor at Princeton typed a deeply moving message on his cell phone for me to read that expressed what the music had meant to him. At the end of the text it said he'd written this because he has ALS and no longer has the ability to speak. I'm grateful and honored beyond words to experience these things. It's the healing power of music and the greatest reason to do what we do. To offer complete unabashed and vulnerable self expression. It's so rewarding when people say that they love seeing how much fun it looks like we're having on stage together. I love it when I hear, "It looks like you guys really like each other."


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


Paul Jost: This IS a Jazz Festival and I've spoken about that above, but I also said I never think of myself as a jazz singer. I think of what I do as simply creative music and it can be infused with a lot of different elements because I want to keep all the doors open. Jazz by it's nature of improvisation offers up infinite options, but you have to be available to realize them. We can't ignite each other with moments of inspiration if we come into the music with an agenda or "talking" at the same time or fighting each other for space.


There has to be a willingness to surrender to the music and the faith to let go and surrender to life. For me, that's true in all music, but it's heightened in Jazz because it's non-stop. It's the fundamental engine that propels it forward. It's the flying without a net that's so exhilarating. The language is always incorporating and evolving. “A stick, a stone. It's the rest of a stump, It's a little alone, It's a sliver of glass, It's the sun, It is night, It's the promise of life, It's the joy in your heart.” (Jobim)


To keep abreast of Paul Jost's activities check out his Website, Facebook Page and his Twitter Page.


All Concerts July 6-8, 2017, will be held at Hatfield House, 33rd & Girard Avenue.                  


Thursday, July 6 at 7:00 PM / FREEDOM  Freedom
Featuring Lee Mo, Paul Jost, Rhenda Fearrington with Music Director: Tom Lawton



Voices Of The People: Celebration of Singers
July 6, 7, 8, 2017
Hatfield House
33rd & Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130  


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.




There is no formal parking lot. However, there is "some" street parking available. We urge everyone to use public transportation, or for drivers, to give themselves plenty of time to find adequate parking.



Two SEPTA Transportation Routes will get you to the Hatfield House.

  • Route 15 | Traveling along-Girard Avenue
  • Route 7 | Travels on 33rd Street

There are other routes to get to 33rd & Girard as well.
Check at the SEPTA website for more info: SEPTA


Admission Is FREE! However, Registration Is Mandatory  Register Here!!

Be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and a thirst for awesome singers.



Jazz Near You, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and PhillyCAM


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Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) supports, promotes, archives and celebrates the diverse elements within the Philadelphia Jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community


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


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