Mysterious Travelers Tunes Up for Its Fourth Season of Free Jazz Shows with the Philadelphia Jazz Project!

By Perry G. Wed, September 13, 2017

Over three previous concert seasons at the Parkway Central Library, veteran and up-and-coming Philly musicians have explored some questions. What has the Great Migration meant to music in Philadelphia? What happens if librarians commission composers to write music inspired by resources culled from Parkway Central’s subject departments? Musicians answered with concert suites built around children’s books exploring mass incarceration, seedy crime novelettes from Philbrick Hall, historic letters found in our Newspaper and Microfilm Center urging 19th-century African Americans to move to the northern cities, and much more. 

For its fourth season with the eminent Philadelphia Jazz Project, our Mysterious Travelers series returns with "Further Investigations" to generate more new music inspired by library collections. We’re expounding on last season’s "Internal Investigations" theme to include more library departments and more musicians. And it’s still completely free!  Get ready for concerts touching just about every department in the library and every brick in Philly history. This season musicians will explore voodoo and the afterlife with the Education, Philosophy, and Religion Department; railway maps of Philadelphia from our Maps Collection; Brazilian and Cuban percussion with the Music Department; Oscar Wilde, Samuel Clemens, and Edgar Allan Poe with the Rare Book Department; and more.  One Monday a month, settle into your seat in the Montgomery Auditorium at the Parkway Central Library—the site where musicians met with librarians to find their musical muses—and let the music find you.

2017-2018 Concert Schedule


September 18, 2017

Exotic Drums & Percussion Instruments in Jazz
Featuring Dwight James
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Music Department

Dwight James is a Philadelphia-born and bred drummer, percussionist, and educator. He has performed in concerts in various venues around the globe and has facilitated educational workshops in schools, community centers, museums, and churches. Over his long career, Dwight James has shared the stage with many jazz, R&B, classical, and gospel artists, as well as with storytellers, poets, and spoken-word artists.

A member of Philadelphia’s adventurous musical front during the 1970s and 80s, James was also featured on many classic recordings, including Khan Jamal Creative Art Ensemble’s 1972 recording, Drum Dance to the Motherland, Sounds of Liberation’s 1972 self-titled debut album, ‎and Khan Jamal Quintet’s 2002 album, Balafon Dance. Most important is his first album as a leader, the Cadence Jazz Records’ 1983 release, entitled Inner Heat.


October 30, 2017

Voodoo & the Afterlife
Featuring Chad Taylor
Co-starring the collection and expertise of the librarians in the Education, Philosophy & Religion Department

Chad Taylor (b. 1973) is a composer, educator, percussionist and scholar who is a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles. Originally from Tempe, AZ, Chad grew up in Chicago where he started performing professionally at the age of 15. Chad has performed on over 75 albums and with artists as diverse as Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Eric Revis, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Matana Roberts, Darius Jones, Lou Donaldson and Roscoe Mitchell. Chad leads his own band Circle Down, whose debut album was given a five-star review by the All Music Guide. In the review, critic Michael G. Nastos writes: "What is remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages."


November 20, 2017

The Nature of Morality
Featuring Ben Singer
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in Philbrick Hall

Ben Singer is a drummer local to Philadelphia and strives to build upon the strong music tradition that the city is known for. While attending Temple University, he studied with teachers such as Dan Monaghan, Dick Oatts, and Byron Landham to hone his skills and learn the history of the music. Ben is interested in incorporating new elements into the tradition and works to play within the space between the familiar and the unexpected. He has worked with many of the areas local talents, including Josh Lee, Tim Warfield, Daud El-Bakara, Jack St. Clair, Chelsea Reed, and Julian Hartwell. He has also worked as a musician on the Holland America cruise Line. Furthermore, Ben works as a bandleader/composer and strives to continually find his voice in the pursuit of presenting original music to the world.


December 18, 2017

Dox Thrash - Master Thrash From Philly's Past
Featuring Larry Price
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Print and Picture Collection

The soulful musical styling of jazz artist Larry Price, alto saxophonist, vocalist, arranger, composer, and producer, will truly move you. This Wilmington, North Carolina native delights audiences around the world as he tells vivid stories and paints vibrant pictures through his music.

He has done lectures, workshops, and performances around the world and has performed with noted artists such as James Carter, Ted Curson, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Ashford and Simpson, and Stanley Turrentine. His compositions include jazz, blues, gospel, reggae, and many other genres.

He resided in Finland from 2002 to 2014. Upon his return to the United States, he became heavily involved in the Philadelphia music scene. He performs with various artists as well as his own group. Mr. Price also has ongoing musical projects in collaboration with the Philadelphia Jazz Project and various other organizations.


January 29, 2018

Impressions of an Exposition
Dan Nosheny – 29 January 2018
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Social Science and History Department

Dan Nosheny has been performing across a wide array of genres and styles for over two decades. A highly sought multi-instrumentalist in the Philadelphia music scene, he has been featured on accordion and baritone with the Balkan Brass Band of the West Philadelphia Orchestra, on tuba with Ensemble Anomaly, and on trombone/tuba/accordion with Cuban master percussionist Francois Zayas. His projects blend traditional jazz styles with avant-garde and pop culture elements in whimsical, dreamlike, and downright funky combos. Dan has performed with Christian McBride, McCoy Tyner, and Laurie Anderson, and he has been a featured performer with the Violent Femmes since 1999.


February 26, 2018

Soundtrack for a Wordless Novel
Featuring Jeff Scull
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Art Department

Jeff Scull is a jazz guitarist, composer, and teacher who has been active in the Philadelphia Jazz scene for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts and holds a master's degree in jazz studies. He has worked with various Philly musicians including V. Shayne Frederick, Kendrah Butler, Nimrod Speaks, Don Glanden, Larry McKenna, and Paul Jost. He has performed at World Cafe Live, Saitama Arena (Japan), South Kitchen and Jazz Parlour, Cibo Ristorante Italiano, Chris' Jazz Cafe, The Saffron House, Paris Wine Bar, Sassafras Bar and Grill, Tritone, and the Reserve Wine Bar. He also worked with the Philadelphia Jazz Project as the Music Director for its Frosty 3 Holiday Concert in 2015.


March 19, 2018

Mike Kennedy
The Writings of Poe, Clemens & Wilde
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Rare Books Department

Mike Kennedy is a guitarist, composer, recording artist, and music educator. He has been performing in Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic regions since 1989 and continues stretching his boundaries. Originally from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Mike moved to Philadelphia in 1987, where he began studying jazz guitar at the University of the Arts and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Mike is currently the Guitar Department Chairperson at UARTS. He has performed at the Mann Music Center, Walnut Theater, The Patriot Theatre, The Kimmel Center, The Keswick Theatre, Theatre of The Living Arts, Santander Performing Arts Center, Longwood Gardens Wine and Jazz Festival, Center City Jazz Festival, Media by Night Jazz Festival, Collingswood Jazz Festival, Bucks County Community College Jazz Festival, and jazz performances throughout Philadelphia and the region with his own band as well as a sideman.


April 30, 2018

Rob Martino
Arts on 1/8/87
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Newspapers and Microfilm Center

Rob Martino is Philadelphia based drummer, composer, and educator. Rob has studied with some world-class musicians, including Ralph Alessi, Dick Oatts, and Steve Fidyk. He received his bachelor of music from Temple University, and has traveled all over the country with various groups including musical directing the All Hands on Deck show. Rob is currently composing and arranging for the Materia Collective, and his own original music. Currently he is the drummer for renowned chiptune, artist NML Style.


May 21, 2018

Nick Lombardelli
Philly’s Railway Maps
Co-starring the collection & expertise of the librarians in the Maps Collection

Nick Lombardelli is a New Jersey native and lifelong musician. Nick graduated from The University of the Arts, obtaining his bachelor's degree in jazz studies in 2015 and his master of arts in teaching in 2016. Nick has the privilege of performing with many great Philadelphia area musicians on a regular basis, including Pablo Batista, Ian O'Beirne's Slowburn, Tre Lambert, Puzzlebox, and the Jack St. Clair Orchestra. A few of the biggest influences in Nick's music are Horace Silver, Pat Metheny, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Elliott Smith. Nick hopes to continue performing, writing, and teaching music in the Philly area for years to come.


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.

All events in this series are free.

All concerts start at 7:00 p.m. and will be held in Montgomery Auditorium at Parkway Central LIbrary.

Accessibility: A wheelchair ramp is located at the Library’s Wood Street entrance, and an elevator for the public is located next to the building’s northeast courtyard.

Mysterious Travelers 4 at the Free Library of Improvisation!
Mysterious Travelers 4 at the Free Library of Improvisation!

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