The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5 series continues to bring the best in jazz and world music to area audiences, from classic sounds to innovative emerging artists. Each Friday evening the Great Stair Hall is transformed into an intimate cabaret, with table service, cocktails, elegant café-style appetizers, and desserts. Acclaimed jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s vibrant, bluesy interpretation of the songs of Elvis Presley (October 26th) is just one of an outstanding lineup of performances audiences won’t want to miss this season.
Chestnut, whom TIME magazine has called “the best jazz pianist of his generation,” grew up in Baltimore and graduated from the Berklee College of Music before launching his career as a performer with musicians like Terence Blanchard, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, and Branford and Wynton Marsalis. In addition to staking his claim as one of foremost musicians in jazz, Chestnut has embraced a wide range of musical styles throughout his career: in 1994 he toured briefly with opera singer Kathleen Battle, with whom he would later record an album of Brazilian lullabies and spirituals. In 2005 he collaborated with Reginald Veal, and Ali Jackson on “Gold Sounds,” a tribute to the indie-rock band Pavement. The focus of his October 26th performance wil be his latest release, “Cyrus Plays Elvis,” in which Chestnut reexamines the blues and gospel roots of Presley’s classic rock n’roll songs.
Silent film buffs are in for a special ‘treat’ on Halloween weekend, when Boston’s Devil Music Ensemble works their musical magic in conjunction with a screening of the classic horror film Nosferatu (November 2). On November 23, [Philadelphia-born*] Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Wallace Roney brings his lively and masterful style of improvisation to the Great Stair Hall. A graduate of the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Roney’s versatility and wide-ranging musical tastes have led him to collaborate with such greats as Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Carole King, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Prince, Herbie Hancock and Joni Mitchell, among others. Other fall highlights include a performance by powerhouse drummer Cindy Blackman (November 30), a veteran of the Lenny Kravitz band, among others; alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa (December 14), whose innovative compositions incorporate elements of his Indian ancestry; and celebrated pianist Orrin Evans (December 28), a Philadelphia native whose resume includes stints with Bobby Watson and the Mingus Band Band, as well as his own acclaimed trio.
Art After 5 showcases an eclectic mix of international music and dance performers on the first Friday of each month. Recognized and emerging jazz artists perform on all other Fridays. This fall’s Art After 5 lineup is as follows:
October 12, Ed Wise
Wise’s Philadelphia edition of his New Orleans Jazz Band plays the music of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and other jazz pioneers.
October 19, Jackie Ryan Jackie Ryan
A regular performer at the famed Ronnie Scott’s Club in London, singer Jackie Ryan has been hailed as “extraordinary” by the Los Angeles Times and “extravagantly gifted” by the Boston Globe. Praised for her imaginative song selection as well as her vocal range, Ryan has performed with Toots Thielemans, Barry Harris, and Eric Alexander, and returns to celebrate her new CD.
October 26, Cyrus Chestnut Plays Elvis
This exceptional pianist puts his own spin on Elvis Presley classics. Chestnut, who studied at the Peabody Institute and Berklee College of Music, has worked with such luminaries as Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, and Branford and Wynton Marsalis.
November 2, Devil Music Ensemble
Halloween continues with a screening of the silent horror film Nosferatu, which is accompanied by the Devil Music Ensemble, a Boston-based group that specializes in creating and performing live concerts with the backdrop of classic silent films.
November 9, Bill Mays
Jazz pianist Bill Mays has played with musicians as diverse as Sarah Vaughan and Frank Zappa. He has been honored with awards as an arranger, pianist, and producer, and has received grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.
November 16, Edmar Castaneda
Harpist Edmar Castaneda has a unique style that combines Latin jazz with traditional Colombian music. A talented musician who has performed with Paquito D’Rivera and Dave Samuels, Castaneda transforms the harp into a lead instrument.
November 23, Wallace Roney
Grammy award-winner Wallace Roney is the only trumpeter that Miles Davis ever personally mentored. The New York Times has called him an “improviser who loves complicated almost mathematical lines and who performs with catlike grace.”
November 30, Cindy Blackman
Drummer Cindy Blackman has performed in Lenny Kravitz’s band as well as with her own band. Having studied at the Berklee College of Music and with legendary teacher Alan Dawson, she can effortlessly move from straight-ahead jazz to rock to funk.
December 7, Klingon Klezlingon Klez
What will klezmer sound like in the future? Klingon Klez is an amazing group of virtuoso musicians that points the way! Combining traditional klezmer with contemporary styles, Klingon Klez concerts typically inspire mass dancing in the aisles.
December 14, Rudresh MahanthappaRudresh Mahanthappa
Guggenheim fellow and alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa is one of jazz’s most innovative musicians and composers. Named a rising star by Down Beat magazine, he has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and myriad influences to create a groundbreaking artistic vision.
December 21, Tim Warfield
Saxophonist Tim Warfield has been praised by the New York Times and has performed with such names as Christian McBride, Isaac Hayes, Orrin Evans, and others. This holiday concert features Philadelphia vocalist Joanna Pascale.
December 28, Orrin Evans
Pianist Orrin Evans has recorded as a leader for the Criss Cross, Palmetto, and Imani record labels. When not performing with his own trio or projects like Luvpark, he plays with such bands as Robin Eubanks EB3, the Mingus Big Band, and the Monk Project with Jamaaladeen Tacuma.
About Art After 5
Art After 5 offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy evening hours to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art’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 $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens (62 and over); $10 for students with I.D. and children 13-18; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free at all times.