Jazz and the study of Jazz are old-school standards at the Free Library. When John Coltrane studied at the Ornstein School of Music, he'd visit the Parkway Central Library Music Department to pore over books and scores to make some of the 20th century's most concrete-sizzling albums. Students of jazz have always visited the Free Library—from veteran musicians searching for that one rare fakebook, to high schoolers researching their first term paper on a topic interesting to them, which is often music. For students at our public schools, the fact that Philadelphia only has eight school librarians—and just a fraction of that at high school level—is a crisis, especially for future members of our city's communities of music. Without librarians to ease learners into research waters, a whole generation of citizen music scholars armed with information literacy skills gets lost. Free Library librarians do the best we can.
So, for our citizens both in and liberated from K-12 schooling, the people's university offers books and musical scores about jazz to play like the greats, read about its history, learn to scat, delve into the lives of musicians, and break into the business; we also hold the CDs, streaming audio databases, and vinyl LPs on which to listen to jazz classic and contemporary.
Coltrane himself, as well as the Coltranes in our communities, know the Free Library of Philadelphia's a jazz arena.
That's why, all through April, we're hosting seven dynamic events all across our neighborhood libraries, as well as a rich exhibition at City Hall for Philly Celebrates Jazz Month.
Let's take a look at the month of April through Philly Jazz glasses. View the full Philly Celebrates Jazz calendar and see the Free Library community events we've highlighted below:
Exhibition: Philly Celebrates Jazz Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia
City Hall 1st floor, just outside the Art Gallery, RM 116, (Market East Portal)
Visiting Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
See some of the jazz-related offerings of the past, present, and future, including live concert footage, vintage music directories and vinyl, and more in this month-long exhibition for Philadelphia Celebrates Jazz Month (pictured).
Community Concert: Artistas y Músicos Latino Americanos at Nicetown-Tioga Library | 3720 North Broad Street
Thursday, April 6
Join us for a free jazz concert by performers from Artistas y Músicos Latino Americanos and help us celebrate Jazz Month. This program is supported by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. All ages are welcome.
Community Concert: Jeff Johnson & the Red Nova Band at Thomas F. Donatucci, Sr. Library | 1935 Shunk Street
Tuesday, April 11
LifeLine Coalition's Jeff Johnson & the Red Nova Band partner together for the Philly Celebrates Jazz Community Concert Series. Drummer Jeff Johnson leads the Red Nova Band.
Community Concert: V. Shayne Frederick Trio at Philadelphia City Institute Library | 1905 Locust Street
Monday, April 17
The V. Shayne Frederick Trio (Philadelphia Jazz Project) will present a concert led by V, who is a vocalist and pianist with a modern devotion to the multi-faceted work of the great artist, Nat King Cole. This concert is part of the Philly Celebrates Jazz Community Series and will be held in the meeting room on the library’s lower level. We regret there is no elevator.
Mysterious Travelers Concert: Elijah Thomas at Parkway Central Library | 1901 Vine Street
Monday, April 17
For the scholar of live jazz, we’re in our third season of a collaboration with the Philadelphia Jazz Project. Mysterious Travelers features up and coming and veteran Philly musicians taking something from the Free Library collection that librarians have tossed at them, then building a whole evening’s concert based on their findings!
Community Concert: JazGuardians at Northeast Regional Library | 2228 Cottman Avenue
Tuesday, April 18
JazGuardians, a collective of local musical visionaries whose bottom-line is improvisation and the cultivation of musical magic, will be at the Northeast Regional Library.
Community Concert: Larry Price & Kevin Diehl at Katharine Drexel Library | 11099 Knights Road
Saturday, April 22
Philadelphia Jazz Project’s Larry Price & Kevin Diehl are two forward-thinking musical adventurers, who never go so far as to lose sight of the roots of the music they perform.
Community Concert: Laurin Talese at Oak Lane Library | 6614 North 12th Street
Monday, April 24
Join us for a live performance, as part of Philly Celebrates Jazz (during the month of April). This program is hosted by The Jazz Bridge Project.
Film Screening: Fred Ho’s Last Year at Parkway Central Library | 1901 Vine Street
Wednesday, April 26
Commemorate Philly Celebrates Jazz Month with a free film screening in Parkway Central Library's Montgomery Auditorium!
In Fred Ho's Last Year (2014, Dir. Steven de Castro), Fred Ho, the award-winning composer, saxophonist, and revolutionary, learns he's got one month to live. Watch the firebrand in his final year fighting cancer, leading protests and orchestras, publishing books, and producing his magnum opus: an elaborate, manga-inspired samurai opera.
Though based in New York, Ho flourished in Philadelphia, working and world-premiering music at Temple and Drexel, and completing residencies at the Fleisher Art Memorial and Painted Bride Arts Center.
Food + Music Event: Jazz Chat & Chew at Haverford Library | 5543 Haverford Avenue
Saturday, April 29
Join us in celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with musical performances by Yesseh Furaha Ali, saxophonist and Mark Palmer, percussionist, and Free Library's own Artie Shaw, bassist. Light refreshments will be served.
Community Concert: The Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble at Fumo Family Library | 2437 South Broad Street
Saturday, April 29
ARPEGGIO’S music, with Bassist Warren Oree at the helm, is flexible, ranging from soft, contemplative melodies to energetic, multi-rhythmic arrangements. It is not unusual for audiences to break out in dance in response to some of the pulsating beats issuing forth from the band.
The history of jazz is a history transposed over our City's own—put your feet in the foundations of Philly jazz past and feel the fomentations of a bright jazz future!