Emannuel Ohemeng, Esperanza Spalding at the Keswick Theatre, photography
Philadelphia City Hall Exhibits Celebrate Jazz and Photography
Live Philly Jazz – Through the Photographic Lens February 29 – May 6, 2016
Juror: Stephen Perloff
Art Gallery at City Hall, Room 116. Second Floor, NE corner display cases
The Clef Club at 50 through May 6, 2016
Curators: Don Gardner and Lovett Hines from The Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts
Jazz returns to City Hall this spring with two photography exhibits: Live Philly Jazz – Through the Photographic Lens, a juried exhibited located in the Art Gallery at City Hall; and The Clef Club at 50, which is located on the second floor near the Office of the Mayor. The exhibits will coincide with Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Month in April. A joint reception will take place on March 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
Live Philly Jazz was juried by Stephen Perloff, editor of The Photo Review, a nationally recognized journal of photography that began in 1976. A call for photography was sent out in the fall, asking artists to submit work that captures the spirit of jazz during live performances, or subtle behind-the-scenes creative moments. The aim was to acquire original works of art that show a mastery of the photographic medium, depicting the rhythms, sounds, energy, and intricacies of jazz music.
Mr. Perloff selected 32 photographs: “At the heart of jazz is performance, which is reflected in a majority of the images in this exhibition that capture a wide range of performers from some of the jazz greats to street musicians.”
Jazz may be the most quintessential American art form. From its birth in New Orleans it has spread like kudzu throughout the United States and around the world. And it has influenced all other succeeding forms of music from the blues to rock and roll and beyond. At the heart of jazz is performance, which is reflected in a majority of the images in this exhibition that capture a wide range of performers from some of the jazz greats to street musicians. There are many fine images among these. But I’m also heartened to see images that go beyond performance, from details such as Peter Applebaum’s Mr. Hornblower, whose lined fingers with glistening rings hold a battered horn that reflects years of playing; to Gerald Cyrus’s Freddie on Fire, which bursts with the pure energy of intense music making; to the composites of Regina Schlitz’s Jamaaladeen Tacuma Upright Abstract and Melissa Teasley’s Jazz-N-Around City Hall Sax Throwback; and even to Lynn Goldstein’s Beat Out of Box, a mostly abstract picture that captures the gestural quality and the balance between structure and improvisation of jazz. Philadelphia has its own rich jazz history and also a wonderful group of photographers who have managed to portray jazz’s soul. – Stephen Perloff, The Photo Review, Editor
- Peter Appelbaum
- Steven Berry
- Rachel Bliss
- Matt Cohen
- Blinky Comix
- Elliott Curson
- Gerald Cyrus
- Dean Anthony
- David Dzubinski
- Meredith Edlow
- Peter Fitzpatrick
- Annarita Gentile
- Melissa Gilstrap
- Lynne Goldstein
- Alan Jackman
- Leandre Jackson
- Alonzo Jennings
- Rob Lybeck
- Jeff Lynch
- Bill May
- James McWilliams
- Brian Mengini
- D. Jacob Miller
- Sarah Nathan
- Emmanuel Ohemeng
- Luzselenia Salas
- David Simpson
- Sound Evidence
- Melissa Teasley
- Bruce Turner
Rob Lybeck, Pat Martino, photograph
For 50 years, The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts has been an enduring cultural hub for Philadelphia’s jazz community. Art In City Hall, with the help of Don Gardner and Lovett Hines, the club’s respective Executive Director and Artistic Director, is presenting this extraordinary triumph through a display of photographs and memorabilia from the club’s collection. The Clef Club at 50 features images of past jazz legends that have graced Philadelphia’s jazz scene and some of the people who helped make it all happen. Many of the photographs on display were taken by South Philly’s John T. “Bunky” deVechhis, who passed away last year after decades of capturing Philly’s jazz scene.
The Clef Club began in 1966 as the social club for Union Local 274 of the American Federation of Musicians – Philadelphia’s black musicians’ union created in the mid 30s by Frank Fairfax. At the time of its incorporation, over seven hundred musicians were members of the club; including: Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, Philly Joe Jones, the Heath Brothers, Butch Ballard, and Dizzy Gillespie among others. Other luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Art Blakely, Sara Vaughn, Max Roach and Clifford Brown would be frequent performers.
In 1971, Local 274 disbanded, but The Clef Club endured. In 1978 it expanded its mission to include jazz performance, jazz instruction, and the preservation of Philadelphia’s rich jazz history. It changed its name to The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. In the 1980s, the William Penn Foundation – led by its Executive Director, Dr. Bernard Watson – allocated $2.8 million to construct a new facility at 738 South Broad Street, as part of the development of cultural organizations on the Avenue of the Arts. The state added an additional $1 million. Ground was broken in 1994 and the club opened its doors the following year.
Today, The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts houses a performance hall that can seat over 200 patrons, and contains two levels of classrooms and practice studios for its educational programs. It boasts some of today’s finest jazz musicians as former students, and continues to present world-class performances in its mission to celebrate and preserve the legacy of jazz.
The Photo Review is a critical journal of national scope and international readership. Publishing since 1976, The Photo Review covers photography events throughout the country and serves as a central resource for the Mid-Atlantic region. Editor Stephen Perloff, a respected writer, educator and photographer, has been interviewed for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Bucks County Courier Times, and Art Matters. He has received two critic’s fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For more information on The Photo Review, please visit: http://www.photoreview.org/
The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts
Jazz is a true, original American art form and The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, in Philadelphia, is the first facility ever constructed specifically as a jazz institution – a testament to our national’s history. Located on the Avenue of the Arts at 738 South Broad St, the building houses a 240 seat performance hall, in addition to multiple classrooms and practice studios, making it ideally suited to fulfill its mission of celebrating and preserving the legacy of jazz. For more information, please visit:
Art in City Hall brings the people’s art to the people’s building, establishing a presence for the visual arts in one of the city’s most important civic spaces, and provides space for the local cultural community to display their work. City Hall showcases juried exhibits of professional artists, local artists, arts and cultural institutions, community organizations and schools that utilize the arts in their programming. Encompassing a variety of mediums, techniques, and subjects, the program is committed to presenting a diversity of ideas and artistic explorations. For additional information on Art in City Hall,
Creative Philadelphia — City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The mission of the Creative Philadelphia — City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is to support and promote arts, culture and the creative industries; and to develop partnerships and coordinate efforts that weave arts, culture and creativity into the economic and social fabric of the City. For more information on the OACCE, visit: http://www.creativephl.org.
Thank you to Tu Huynh, City Hall Exhibitions Manager, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy for the content of this post. Thank you to Rob Lybeck for sharing his photograph.
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