Mysterious Travelers 2: Great Migrations

By Adam F. Mon, October 5, 2015

Back by overwhelming popular demand! The Music Department at the Parkway Central Library is again collaborating with the Philadelphia Jazz Project and the Producers' Guild to present Mysterious Travelers 2 - Great Migrations. Through free concerts every fourth Monday night from October 2015 through May 2016, audiences will hear from veteran as well as up-and-coming musicians who are shaping the future sounds of Philadelphia with a sharp ear to the legacies of our past. This season will directly honor and celebrate the past century’s brave journey of African Americans to Philadelphia from the South, to which owe we our rich urban musical heritage. Starting in January 2015, each band leader will be presenting a new composition inspired by the Great Migration during his or her set. You’ll hear it first here at your Free Library of Improvisation.

Mysterious Travelers 2: Great Migrations - the line up

Mysterious Travelers featuring Kevin Ripley
Monday, October 26, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by drummer, pianist, and composer Kevin Ripley. Ripley hails from Philadelphia and can be heard performing daily at venues across our city and its countryside. He leads a trio at Deanna’s in the upriver artists’ village of Lambertville, NJ and performs frequently with ill Delta, Hot Bijouxx, Triage, and numerous jazz combos with such local scenesters as Madison Rast, Brian Howell, Timothy Brey, Chris Simonini, Dan Hanrahan, Najwa Parkins, and many others. A rising young talent, Ripley is known for a distinctively intense melodic approach to the drum set and draws inspiration from a vast array of musical idioms.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Bernard Samuel
Monday, November 23, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by pianist and composer Bernard Samuel. Samuel's performance history runs deep in our local jazz history. He has played with local treasures such as Hank Mobley, Philly Joe Jones, Bootsie Barnes, Little Jimmy Oliver, and many more. With a compositional style influenced both by R&B vocal groups such as The Harptones and The Temptations as well as by the piano approach of Hank Jones, Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan, and Kenny Barron, Samuel has drawn praise from the Inquirer for his “hard speedy rhythmically punchy, yet metrically free” style.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Anthony DeCarlo 
Monday, December 28, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by guitarist Anthondy DeCarlo. Trenton made DeCarlo, and Philadelphia has taken him. A founder of South Philadelphia’s emergent musical hub Tasker House, DeCarlo stands at the center of a growing community of young musicians. He has worked with Kenny Lattimore, Dwele, Laurin Talese, Jeff Bradshaw, Tweet, Jason Nelson, and Matt McAndrew. With his guitar in hand, DeCarlo hopes to change the world with the positive force of music

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Madison Rast
Monday, January 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by bassist, composer, and Temple University faculty member Madison Rast. Rast migrated to Philadelphia at the turn of this century, after a long period of intensive study at several prestigious music schools to our south. He is among our city’s most in-demand sidemen, whose deeply grounded bass lines have supported Mickey Roker, Orrin Evans, Sean Jones, and Joanna Pascale. His debut album of his original compositions and a recording of the poetry of Walt Whitman, set to original music in collaboration with pianist Garry Dial and saxophonist Dick Oatts, are soon to be released.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring William "Wali" Bickley
Monday, February 22, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by globe-trotting musician, writer, and composer William “Wali” Bickley. Bickley came up in Philadelphia and blossomed in Spain and Gibraltar, where he formed his multinational group Inner Journey Bands. Another group he led, The Real Live Band, shared the stage with Roy Ayers. Wali has recorded and written songs for Khan Jamal. Recently, Wali has been scoring music for the theater and recording an album with Inner Journey.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Najwa Parkins
Monday, March 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by Najwa Parkins. Parkins is a highly sought after trombonist, vocalist, educator, composer, lyricist, dancer, actress, and performing artist. She leads her own quartet, Najwa Parkins and the After Hours Trio, but is also a member of the Emmy-nominated Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band; collaborates with Phil Woods and the Festival OrchestraHot Bijouxx, and Bachelor Boys Band; and does her own solo projects. She has shared the stage with artists from Benny Golson to Branford Marsalis. In 2011 she released her debut album Not the Next Someone Else, and 2015 will see the release of the eagerly awaited Najwa Parkins Live at the Deer Head Inn.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Victor North
Monday, April 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by saxophonist Victor North, who migrated south from Alaska to Philadelphia to immerse himself in our rich jazz culture. Since landing he’s worked with Mickey Roker, Charles Fambrough, John Swana, Terell Stafford, Jimmy Bruno, Duane Eubanks, and Jymie Merritt and spent five years playing with the Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Elio Villafranca. Most recently, North leads his own group, Three Blind Mice; works with Orrin Evans’s Captain Black Big Band; and holds court frequently at Chris’s Jazz Cafe.

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Mysterious Travelers featuring Kim Pedro
Monday, May 23, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

This month’s concert is led by drummer Kim Pedro, who is a visual and performance artist and a builder of community. With the Sun Ra Arkestra’s DM Hotep and under the mentorship of Robert Kenyatta, he founded the JazGuardian Musicians’ Organization. In addition to serving as a Performing Arts Instructor for the Department of Recreation, he’s the originator and prime mover for the Artists’ Collective, NU GRuV Network. Over his career he’s accompanied Monika Herzig, Raimundo Santos, Vanida Gail, Kaligata, King Sound Vibration, Melange, and even a President of the United States.

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Philadelphia Jazz Project (PJP) works to inspire a network to support, promote, archive, and celebrate the diverse elements within the Philadelphia jazz community, with the larger goal of connecting to the global community. PJP is a sponsored project of the Painted Bride Art Center, with funding provided by the Wyncote Foundation.

The mission of the Producers’ Guild is to ensure that the appreciation and enthusiasm for the rich cultural heritage of African American arts continues to thrive in Philadelphia, especially Black Classical Music, commonly known as JAZZ.

All events in this series are free.

For more information, full biographies, and the most up-to-date details, visit freelibrary.org, call the Music Department at 215-686-5316, email erefmus@freelibrary.org, or connect with us on Facebook.

Mysterious Travelers 2 - Great Migrations
Mysterious Travelers 2 - Great Migrations

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