My Summer of Jazz in Philadelphia

Jazz and Philadelphia have always gone together in my mind.  One of my fondest Philadelphia memories is attending a Sun Ra concert on Halloween night many years ago. Sun Ra and his Angel Arkestra played on the altar of a church in West Philadelphia (I forget which). We all wore costumes. I was probably a gypsy-that’s my all purpose go to getup for Halloween except for the Halloween when I got married.  But I remember one boy who was dressed in a marching band jacket, and had painted a red heart on each cheek.  He informed us that Vladimir Mayakovsky was also known for painting hearts on his face.  I would not be surprised.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra were masterful.  They could get into a piece by Coltrane and transition seamlessly into a Bag Band Standard like “Take the A Train.”  At the end of the night, Sun Ra led his musicians in a kind of conga line down the middle aisle of the church and the audience rose from the pews and joined in dancing and chanting around the church.  Space is the Place!

Philadelphia City Hall

It has been a difficult summer for me, but Philadelphia did not let me down.  There were free Jazz concerts all over and I was lucky enough to be able to attend many of them.  Here are some pictures and links from two wonderful series of music, one in City Hall and one  in South Philadelphia.   The artists have videos on YouTube and I encourage you to sample all of them.

Jazz in the Gallery


Monnette Sudler, guitar

Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

Blackbird Society Orchestra

Bethlehem & Sad Patrick

The Jost Project 

Diane Monroe, violinist

Jazz Bridge in Hawthorne Square


Goodbye my friend.  I’m glad you enjoyed the music.

The Mosaic Muse in Philadelphia

I saw a great exhibition of mosaic art recently called the Mosaic Muse.   It was a juried exhibit sponsored by Creative Philadelphia, and it ran from February 9 to March 27 in Philadelphia City Hall.  For those of you who missed it, here are some pictures.


The pieces in the exhibit were colorful and innovative.


imageimage  I especially liked the sculptural pieces


Two visitors


imageThere were so many delightful works of art that I hope someone had the presence of mind to take good photographs and catalog them.  While there is a list of the participating artists and there was a photocopied catalog at the exhibit, there wasn’t anything for the public to take away.  I know money is always a factor and I am grateful that these artists had the opportunity for their work to be shown, but I wish there was a permanent record of the exhibit,


  And speaking of mosaics, Philadelphia’s City Hall is full of old tile work although most of it is hidden behind wall board and under floor tile. Here’s one example that’s not-a mosaic of the City of Philadelphia Seal.

The seal of the City of Philadelphia has its own fascinating story.  You can read it here.

For more information on Mosaics and public art in Philadelphia, check out these web sites:

Creative Philadelphia on Facebook,  Art in City Hall, Mosaic Society of Philadelphia