The months ahead bring a diverse and exciting line-up of performers to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its popular Friday night series Art After 5. From much-loved acts like the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the most successful big band of recent decades, to up and coming performers like bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding, who at age 22 has already collaborated with some of the biggest names in jazz, Art After 5 continues to offer one of the city’s premier live music events. The first Friday of each month highlights international music—from the dynamic mix of Brit-pop and classical sounds produced by composer Mary Bichner (February 2) to Japanese-born koto player Masayo Ishigure (March 3). On all other Fridays, the series plays host to both recognized and emerging jazz artists.
Each Friday evening, the Great Stair Hall is transformed into a concert hall, complete with table service, cocktails, elegant café-style appetizers, and desserts. In between sets, visitors have a chance to explore the Museum’s more than 200 galleries and special exhibitions.
On January 26th Art After 5 is proud to welcome the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, hailed by Downbeat magazine as "the most versatile and sophisticated jazz orchestra going." For four decades, this sixteen-member group has proven itself to be one of the most innovative big bands in jazz history and a creative outlet for the nation’s foremost performers, composers, and arrangers, combining the depth and richness of an ensemble with stunning solo work.
Following is the spring line-up for Art After 5.
January 12: Odean Pope
A markedly different and original jazz musician, Odean Pope offers a saxophonic approach that at times sounds nothing like a saxophone. Through the years he has performed with John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Clark Terry.
January 19: Organissimo
From the beginning, Organissimo has set itself apart from the traditional organ trio by focusing on original material and cultivating a unique group sound. All three members contribute equally and bring their diverse backgrounds to the band, producing a cohesive, multi-layered signature style.
January 26: The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
The VJO is the oldest, most successful big band of jazz’s postmodern era. Their latest release, Up From The Skies, Music of Jim McNeely, was nominated for two Grammy awards, and contains a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Up From The Skies along with the politically poignant We Will Not Be Silenced. (This program is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts).
February 2: Box Five
Box Five is the brainchild of Mary Bichner, a young composer and performer from Philadelphia. Her music combines Mozart-inspired chord progressions and Brit-rock hooks into a musical succotash she likes to call “classipop.”
February 9: Ben Allison
Ben Allison is a jazz double bassist and composer who has performed with the Ben Allison Quartet, Medicine Wheel, and the Kush Trio. He is also the founder, artistic director, and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective.
February 16: Donny McCaslin
Saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin has performed with Danilo Pérez and the Mingus Big Band. McCaslin tours with the Dave Douglas Quintet, the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, and his own group.
February 23: Asha Puthli
Asha Puthli is one of the most successful vocalists to come out of India. Puthli freely moves between Indian classical, avant-garde and traditional jazz, R & B, funk, rock, techno, ambient, new wave, new age, Bollywood, and bhangra.
March 3: Masayo Ishigure
Masayo Ishigure is a Japanese-born koto player who has been living in New York City since 1992. She has performed worldwide and throughout the United States, including shows at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She also has been featured on several recordings, including the soundtrack for the film Memoirs of a Geisha.
March 9: Amy Banks
Jazz vocalist Amy Banks has performed as a professional singer and actress for eighteen years. She has appeared on stage and screen all over the world, but now calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home.
March 16: Mogauwane Mahloele
South African musician Mahloele makes and plays a variety of instruments, including Dikonokono drums, flutes, mouth harps, and a traditional trumpet. His innovative jazz group combines his African roots with modern jazz.
March 23: Dominick Farinacci
Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci has performed with Peter Cincotti, Warren Vaché, and Renee Rosnes. The New York Times says he has “the ability to move through several moods, then drive an improvisation home with power.”
March 30: Esperanza Spalding
Bassist, singer, and composer Esperanza Spalding has worked with Regina Carter and Pat Metheny. She is a recipient of the Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship and holds a B.M. from Berklee College of Music, where she currently teaches.
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours exploring the Museum's 200 galleries, which house 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. (Effective February 1, 2007, there will be a $5 parking fee for non-members; beginning in April, Museum members will pay $4 to park on site).