Tuesday, June 5, 2012

UCD, The Rotunda and Penn to present four extraordinary large ensembles: Man Man side project Adventuredrum, a star-studded John Coltrane birthday celebration, Brooklyn Balkan brass wizards Slavic Soul Party, and Philadelphia Afro-futurists Sun Ra Arkestra

(Philadelphia, PA) – University City District (UCD), The Rotunda and the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce the 2012 season of the annual 40th Street Summer Series, the free outdoor concert series in West Philadelphia. Scheduled for the fourth Saturdays in June to September, the Summer Series will transform the 40th Street Field into an eclectic international center of sounds and good vibes. These free outdoor performances will feature exceptional internationally-renowned large ensembles including Slavic Soul Party, Sun Ra Arkestra, Adventuredrum, and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound with Odean Pope and Dave Liebman. All concerts will be held on the beautiful green space just behind the Walnut Street Free Library at 40th and Walnut Streets beginning at 6pm.

Complimentary (first come, first served) Rita’s Water Ice will also be given out during the performances. For the June and July Summer Series events, Tsirkus Fotografika (or the "Photographic Circus") will bring their antique mobile portrait studio, offering free antique photos to concertgoers. Using analog film, old-fashioned "hot" lighting, and large format equipment, Tsirkus follows in the footsteps of itinerant photographers who would travel from town to town making portraits on-the-spot.

Acts for the 2012 40th Street Summer Series are:

Saturday, June 23, 6pm


Throbbing funk grooves, fiery Balkan brass, Gypsy accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops. Slavic Soul Party has created an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting. SSP’s music has won the ears of fans and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, and their tunes have been learned by Serbian brass stars Boban Markovic Orkestar and New Orleans funk sensations Galactic, among others. One of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, SSP performs throughout North America, Europe, Africa and beyond, and have performed at Babylon (Istanbul) with the Karandila Orkestar, at Irving Plaza (New York City) with Gogol Bordello, on the Warped Tour, in Carnegie Hall, in Sing Sing prison, and in virtually every major New York club.


Saturday, July 28, 6pm


The Sun Ra Arkestra returns for their third Summer Series appearance with another very rare hometown performance which is sure to have audiences either dancing feverishly or contemplatively traversing the spaceways. Founded in 1958 under the leadership of Sun Ra, the Arkestra pioneered a unique brand of afro-futurism, forging intersecting musical pathways that explore outer space and Egyptian mythology. Drawing on the work of Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, the Arkestra are pioneers of the bop-derived avant-garde and collective improvisation. Their work has had tremendous impact on scores of musicians including MC5, Sonic Youth and George Clinton. Following the Arkestra's influential tenures in Chicago and New York City, Sun Ra and the Arkestra relocated to Philadelphia in 1968, where they continue their commitment to the study, research and development of Sun Ra's musical precepts. Following the ascension of Sun Ra in 1993 and John Gilmore in 1995, Maestro Marshall Allen (b. 1924) has launched the Sun Ra Arkestra into a dimension beyond that of mere "ghost" band by writing fresh arrangements of Sun Ra's music, as well as composing new music and arrangements for the Arkestra.


Saturday, August 25, 6pm


Adventuredrum is a new dance band led by Philadelphia composer and percussionist Christopher Sean Powell, best known for his work in Need New Body and Man Man. This Philadelphia-based project brings together a who’s who of local musicians exploring rhythms constructed from sampled sound, exotic percussion, synthesizers and drum kits. Adventuredrum members include those who have collaborated with the West Philly Orchestra, Fugazi’s Joe Lally, Dirty Projectors, Grandchildren, Pattern is Movement, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and others. Merging new sounds and ideas with traditional drumming, this is a dance band for the future. These are the drums of tomorrow . . . today!


Saturday, September 22, 6pm



West Philadelphia’s Bobby Zankel was drawn to the saxophone by the thrilling new sounds being explored in the 1960s jazz scene, in particular the music of John Coltrane. He studied with Cecil Taylor, eventually became involved with the avant-garde jazz scene of the early 1970s, performing alongside the likes of bassist William Parker and violinist Billy Bang. Zankel is now one of the leading lights of the local jazz community. His most influential work has been his ten years of composing for his long-standing big band Warriors of the Wonderful Sound which features many of Philadelphia’s best musicians. For this very special performance, he is joined by two saxophone masters: Odean Pope, best known for his two decades with the Max Roach Quartet; and Dave Liebman, who performed and recorded with Miles Davis from 1970 to 1974. In celebration of saxophone legend John Coltrane’s birthday, the Warriors and these specials guests revisit his seminal 1964 recording, A Love Supreme, which they will play in its entirety.

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