The Philadelphia Jazz Project and the Free Library of Philadelphia’s season of concerts meditating on what the Great Migration means for our city’s musical DNA is nearing the final curtain. If you’ve been meaning to make it to any of the shows in this series, now’s your chance!
On Monday, April 25, Victor North plays the penultimate Mysterious Travelers 2: Great Migrations concert. Music librarians invite you to look at this and other live music concerts at the Free Library as a logical endpoint of librarians helping musicians discover library sheet-music collections, method books, music DVDs and digital music learning guides, and other treasures to hone their craft or practice for a concert.
This is the second-to-last month of contemplating the Great Migration (2016 marks the 100th anniversary of its beginnings). Each artist has approached the historic escape of African Americans from a spectrum of racist violence and oppression—and their resulting arrival in northern cities like Philadelphia—to create diverse compositions.
To reserve your spot at this concert, you can get FREE tickets through the Free Library of Philadelphia's Music Department.
To see the lineup for the entire series, past and future, take a look at our program guide.
To hear recordings, both live originals from Montgomery Auditorium or previously released recordings from our streaming music services of established jazz classics that some of these musicians are re-imagining, check out our blog.
Up Next: Victor North
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. Now, North leads his own group, Three Blind Mice; works with Orrin Evans, Captain Black Big Band; and holds court frequently at Chris’s Jazz Cafe.
Recapping Najwa Parkins
Youth doesn’t equal inexperience. The last Mysterious Travelers performance featured Najwa Parkins and her After Hours Trio. And though the musicians skewed toward the younger end of the spectrum—the three met as Temple undergrads in 2006—they’ve been playing together for nearly a decade.
Parkins—a sharp songwriter—told a packed house the story of personal loss that inspired some of her own songs, as well as some of her favorites from the more uptempo Ellington and Berlin pieces from the program, and what she felt was the power behind Loesser’s "Never Will I Marry." The trio spent most of the night highlighting lounge jazz tunes, originals, and pages out of the American Songbook
For this reviewer, each member’s ease with each other’s style was evident just by watching them solo, and what they did when someone else was soloing. Justin favored spellbinding runs up the neck of the upright, pinpointing the highest, most bell-like tintinnabulations before sliding down low. Dan was a dextrous soloist; one minute he’d be plucking through jaunty bossa nova rhythms and then next into a more traditional jazz style. Something for which this librarian gives extra credit is how he played a supporting role underneath the other solos (an unrecognized art). Hanrahan accented his bandmates’ explorations with just the right chord or note. Najwa’s solos were the crowd favorite; she harnessed classic jazz-style scatting perfectly.
Don't miss the second-to-last Mysterious Travelers 2: Great Migrations concert on Monday!