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Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project

A Philly Songbook Story

Cityscape“Bobby Mcferrin and I go to the same chiropractor.”


These words begin a story told by one of the performers in the Philadelphia Jazz Project [PJP's] latest offering, The Philadelphia Songbook Vol.2 and the comment stands as illustration of how rich the local environment is with people who make regular, stellar contributions to the world of Jazz. The story continues with a downbeat humor that in its own way characterizes the life of gigging… “I was sitting in the office awaiting my appointment and my eye kept straying to this beautiful human being… who my gut told me that I knew. I suppose my gaze carried some weight because we did end up nodding an acknowledgement to each other.. which occasioned a comment from me… ever the musician. “Have we ever played a gig together?


The answer turned up just afterward …He was called into a treatment room… it all popped into place…”


In certain ways, this story is characteristic of Jazz synergy in Philadelphia….  Like another local phenomenon, the infamous “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, it seems that one can randomly chose an aspect of the music and within a step or two, one can a identify significant connection between some Philly person or creation.


The Philadelphia Songbook concerts put these relationships on display, using playlists drawn from such connections (some obvious and some obscure) as performance portfolio and open canvas for gatherings of local artists.)


We'll get back to Bobby in a minute...


In the meantime, first business is to introduce the lineup behind this year’s effort.


Vocal Director/Voice: Saudah Al-Akbar is a continuing presence among Philadelphia Jazz Project audiences. She has participated in a wealth of Philadelphia Jazz Project offerings, notable last year's DivaNation series highlighting the female vocalists. Her performance rocked the house during last season's holiday extravaganza, “Frosty 2” concert…  Her Songbook work will be followed tightly by a solo concert, September 13th, she takes the stage under PJP’s 7 x 7 Venice Island Concert series with a vocal exploration of the Afro Latin roots of Jazz.) This time out, however, she is charged with bringing fresh perspective to music, which is very likely to have been heard before... perhaps many, many times before. This year, she works with a small, but potent group of voices, who allow her to craft the familiar melodic lines into third dimension arrangement. After hearing her arrangement of the evening’s Antonio Carlos Jobim medley, one will have to redefine the term “song” entirely.


Click here for Songbook Vocal Musicians


Likewise, pianist composer and scholar, Terry Klinefelter’s job has been to craft a unified presentation from the performance “bones” of musicians who have not had the opportunity to play together before. This of course runs counter to the tradition of Jazz, which is based upon a player familiarity honed through gigs and band association which ebb and flow over a career. Jazz is nothing, if not intimate… its improvisational core rests on a familiarity which can defy normal ego constraints. And yet…the music carries all in the end. In this concert, Klinefelter is somewhat at an advantage. Two of her players, [husband Paul and son, Christian] carry the same surname… making it a family affair from the start.


Click hear for Songbook Instrumental Musicians


The Songbook concerts are well named…  because they do function almost as a sacred record of the music that has touched down or grown up in the local environment over generations. In a certain way, these concerts function like the I Ching.. One allows pages to open and some truth worthy of further consideration emerges  and crossed the threshold through the lines of old and oft quoted text. This year, the Philadelphia Songbook choices have magic to offer…  take a look at the masters who have been invoked for your hearing pleasure.


Click here for About the Songs



I mentioned Bobby McFerrin.  Though he lives nearby, he isn’t scheduled to appear. However, one of his arrangements will indeed make its way onto the stage of the American Philosophical Society this Friday... though, as with all things Jazz, it will not be served up straight.


On September 11, 2015, at the American Philosophical Society, we will embark on Philadelphia Songbook Concert Vol. 2. The concert will feature Jazz standards and popular songs written and/or performed by local artists like McCoy Tyner, Alphonso Johnson, Stan Getz, Bobby Timmons, Musiq Soulchild, Billy Paul and more. Music Director and pianist, Terry Klinefelter and Vocal Director, Saudah Al Akbar, are joined by a team of local musicians including Byron Landham, Bob Meashey, Tim Price, Paul Klinefelter, Matthew Clayton, Ronnie Howerton, Milton Suggs, V. Shayne Frederick and more, as they take us on a fascinating musical journey.

Philadelphia Songbook Concert Volume 2

Friday, September 11, 7:30pm

American Philosophical Society

427 Chestnut Street

Phila., PA 19106

Tickets: $15 in advance/$20 at the door

For Tickets Click Here

Proceeds of this will support The Philadelphia Real Book Project: an organization created by Philadelphia Jazz pianist and composer David Dzubinski, partnering with Jazz Bridge, the Clef Club and the Philadelphia Jazz Project to publish a book, containing the original and archival materials in lead sheet form of Philadelphia composers that would be made available to a worldwide audience.


Written by Sharon Chestnut

Sharon Chestnut is a veteran of studies in philosophy, fine art, theology and organizational dynamics. She has served professionally as teacher, organizer, project consultant and strategic planning gadfly. She writes in service of her lifelong vocation to raise awareness of demonstrable processes which engender creativity, fuel intellectual acumen and encourage spiritual growth.




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Tags : PhiladelphiaSongbookVol.2 PhiladelphiaSongbook Songbook APhillySongbookStory PhillySongbook SaudahAl-Akbar TerryKlinefelter PaulKilinefelter ChristianKlinefelter BobbyMcFerrin


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