With the special exhibition African Art, African Voices serving as inspiration, the renowned Friday Evening jazz series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a fusion of jazz and West African hand percussion this fall, along with a dynamic lineup of Philly Jazz artists. Each Friday evening, from 5:00 until 8:45 p.m., the Museum’s Great Stair Hall becomes a lively center stage and a starting off point for discovery in the galleries.
In celebration of African Art, African Voices (Oct. 2, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005), a major exhibition of nearly 200 works, composer-pianist Dave Burrell’ African ensemble blends contemporary jazz piano with the intense rhythms of African drums (Oct. 1 and Dec. 10). The Harry Butch Reed Trio (Oct. 22), featuring vocalist Barbara D. Mills, shows that the African American tradition we call the blues is truly a musical phenomenon belonging to the African cultural world. On Friday, Nov. 12, experience an evening of traditional music and dance from the Western Coast of Africa, as the Jaasu Ballet performs selected music of countries including Senegal and Mali along with traditional masquerade and stilt walking. Jaasu Ballet, meaning "eternal light," was created in 1985 to keep traditional African culture alive in Philadelphia.
In addition to these special events, Friday Evenings will continue to spotlight area jazz artists. Highlights of the fall Philly Jazz lineup include the Dec. 17 return of Joanna Pascale, who played to an enthusiastic Museum audience in July. At just 24 years old, the Temple University grad has established herself as a compelling and skilled vocalist. Her latest album, When Lights Are Low, showcases her approach to the timeless standards of American music. Larry McKenna (Oct. 15), one of the leading tenor saxophonists in the country, has been hailed as a ‘musician’s musician’ ever since his skills landed him a spot in the 1959 Woody Herman band. He has several nationally acclaimed CDs such as My Shinning Hour and It Might As Well Be Spring.
Vocalist Meg Clifton (Oct. 8) has a hauntingly powerful voice that attracted critical renown in 2003 when she teamed with Mary Ellen Desmond on a tribute album to singers Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney. Sea Dreams is the new release from Steve Giordano’s Spacetet (Oct. 29), which features the guitarist along with Bob Meashey (trumpet/flugelhorn), Peter Cobb (alto sax), Brian Howell (bass), John Mosemann (drums/percussion). New Jersey’s Jim Ridl (Nov. 5) is a jazz pianist who has performed and recorded on the national and international jazz scene with many jazz artists, including Pat Martino. His latest release, Jim Ridl’s Door in a Field, is rich with original compositions recorded with jazz trio and strings. Vibraphonist Tony Miceli (Nov. 19) is a Friday Evenings favorite who consistently wraps the Great Stair Hall in good vibes. Harrisburg pianist Steve Rudolph (Nov. 26) has helped to develop the thriving jazz scene in Central Pennsylvania, performing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Buddy DeFranco, and the Mills Brothers.
Friday evening jazz performances are presented in two sets—5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., with guided tours of the galleries offered at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. A full cash bar and an à la carte menu of appetizers, light entrées and desserts is available with table service in the Great Stair Hall.
Against the backdrop of live music, gallery tours, light dinner, and cocktails, museum visitors can enjoy the Museum’s 200 galleries and several special summer exhibitions, including: African Art, African Voices (Oct. 2, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005); Italian Master Drawings: 1540 to the Present (October 30, 2004-February 20, 2005); and Pontormo, Bronzino and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait in Florence (November 20, 2004-February 13, 2005).
SPECIAL FASHION SHOW EVENT
On Friday, December 3, at 7:00 p.m., the Great Stair Hall will be transformed into a glamorous runway for a special fashion show, Fashions of Africa: Weaving Together the Past & the Present. Join members of Philadelphia’s African community as they present both traditional and contemporary fashions from all regions of Africa. The fashion show will feature ensembles from such countries as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Uganda, as well as contemporary clothes by designers active in the Philadelphia area.
To receive more information about evening programs call (215) 763-8100 or visit www.philamuseum.org. To receive a free brochure, call (215) 684-7506. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays until 8:45 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission prices: $10 for adults; $7 for students with I.D., children 13-18, and senior citizens (62 and over); children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times. Pay what you wish on Sundays. Parking on the terrace level outside the Museum is free Monday through Friday.