With the special exhibition Tesoros/Treasures/Tesouros: The Arts in Latin America, 1492–1840 serving as inspiration, the renowned Art After 5 series of Friday night performances at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a dynamic lineup of Latin jazz this fall. 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 Tesoros (September 20–December 31, 2006), a major exhibition of nearly 250 works of art from 13 countries, Art After 5 will present music from throughout Central and South America, including the Cuban-jazz fusion of Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana (Oct. 13), Edward Simon Venezuelan Project (Oct. 27), and Cuban pianist Manuel Valera (Nov. 24). Classical and contemporary tango will fill the Great Stair Hall on Friday, Oct. 6, while traditional Mexican music and dance take center stage on Nov. 3 and Grupo Saveiro performs a variety of popular Brazilian styles on Dec. 1.
This fall’s Art After 5 lineup:
October 6: Mass Tango Mass Tango celebrates the magic and spirit of the streets of Buenos Aires, blending music and dance to recreate the unique atmosphere of a city where tango is a way of life. The group of five musicians and two dancers offers classical and contemporary tango music, vocals, and dance in its traditional forms and styles. The repertory includes classic tangos popularized by Carlos Gardel including the world famous ”La Cumparsita” and “El Choclo.”
October 13: Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana
Soprano saxophonist, flutist and bandleader Jane Bunnett has built her career at the crossroads between Cuban music and jazz. Twice nominated for Grammy awards, she has turned her bands into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the United States, and Cuba. Her startling new album, Red Dragon'Fly, is the most ambitious expression yet of her very personal Cuban-jazz fusion.
October 20: Shahida Nurullah
It hasn’t taken long for the buzz to spread among jazz critics about the stellar release from Detroit-area singer Shahida Nurullah. While her repertoire is comprised of familiar standards and a couple of Brazilian tunes, the arrangements and her approach are anything but standard.
October 27: Edward Simon Venezuelan Project
Pianist Edward Simon’s jazz is deeply rooted in his Latin background. His ability to blend Afro-Caribbean rhythms, boleros, and his native folk songs with jazz harmonies established him as a unique talent who transcended genres. Currently, he is producing a project close to his heart, arranging traditional Venezuelan songs for a jazz setting.
November 3: Sones de México
Sones de México Ensemble’s joyous interpretation of the Mexican “son” tradition features huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and the roots of mariachi music, combined with acrobatic dance displays and bright, four-part harmony vocals.
November 10: Willie Martinez
Drummer Willie Martinez and the La Familia Sextet bring the best in “New York Style” Latin jazz to Philadelphia. La Familia consists of Misha Tsiganov on piano, Jennifer Vincent on bass, Renato Thoms on percussion, J. Walter Hawkes on trombone, Max Schweiger on baritone sax and flute, and Martinez on drums and vocals. The group’s new CD is entitled “Family.”
November 17: Robert Glasper Blue Note recording artist Robert Glasper combines a mesmerizing melodic sense with outstanding technique. Influenced by McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett, this pianist/composer exhibits a delicate touch and harmonic sense as recognizable as any of the aforementioned masters.
November 24: Manuel Valera
Cuban pianist Manuel Valera is in the forefront of contemporary jazz. His 2003 debut CD, “Forma Nueva,” signaled the arrival of an important Latin jazz pianist. His latest recording “Melancolia,” released in March 2006, is a special project that fuses classical concepts with world and Latin rhythms.
December 1: Grupo Saveiro
Twice voted the best Brazilian group in the United States by the Brazilian International Press Association, Grupo Saveiro performs a variety of popular Brazilian styles, including the type of samba known as pagode—a lively and joyful style of music featuring typical instrumentation like cavaquinho, guitar, and various percussion including tantã, pandeiro, tambourim and repique—along with male vocal harmonies.
December 8: Vince Ector
Jazz drummer and Philadelphia native Vince Ector has worked with jazz luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Gloria Lynne, Charles Earland, and Bobby Watson. He brings to his music the diverse styles of conventional jazz, funk, and Latin rhythms.
December 15: Mark Kramer & Eddie Gómez
Best known for his work with pianist Bill Evans, Eddie Gómez's performances incorporate an even greater depth of feeling due to the empathetic playing of Mark Kramer. Although a duet, the music feels and sounds orchestral at times despite their generous use of space throughout. The music Gómez and Kramer have created is a study in musical communication, interaction, minimalism and “orchestration” which is destined to become a true classic.
December 22: Elio Villafranca
Pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was born in Cuba, where he was classically trained in percussion and composition. He left Cuba for Philadelphia in 1995, and later settled in New York. His debut album, Incantations/Encantaciones, was selected by Jazz Times Magazine as one of the top 50 Jazz albums of 2003.
December 29: Orrin Evans
The New York Times described Orrin Evans as “a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command,” a quality undoubtedly recognized by the legendary saxophonist Bobby Watson, who engaged Evans as piano chair for his band, a position he has held for six years. His 2005 CD, Easy Now, is a rousing tribute to his late father, Donald Evans, who was a prominent playwright.
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Museum's 200 galleries, housing a vast collection of art from around the world. The experience is enhanced each Friday by a program of music, dance, food, and drinks in the Great Stair Hall. 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 throughout the evening. A full cash bar and à la carte menu of appetizers, light entrées, and desserts is available with table service in the Great Stair Hall. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens (62 and over); $8 for students with I.D. and children 13–18; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times.