Legendary Saxophonist Sonny Fortune Headlines Free, Family-friendly Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival


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The Festival is gaining in renown and popularity... One reason is the corridor’s rich arts and cultural history. Another is its incredible future as part of the Promise Zone. --Kathy Desmond, PEC President
Traditional, Fusion & Rhythm Jazz Musicians to Groove on July 18th

When critics speak of Sonny Fortune, names like John Coltrane are mentioned. Described as “one of the most intriguing alto players in contemporary jazz,” (Stereophile Magazine) the extraordinary saxophonist and Philadelphia native performs around the world and always with a boundless spirit and potent, improvisational energy. Fortune headlines the 9th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival on Saturday, July 18th in Saunders Park. Hosted by People’s Emergency Center (PEC), the FREE, family-friendly event showcases the best of Philadelphia: a mix of local artists who are shaping the future of jazz, a diverse gathering of people, a view of the city and a chance to discover a neighborhood that is rich in arts and culture.

The Festival is from noon to 7 pm at Saunders Park Greene, 39th and Powelton Avenue. Free parking is available at Penn Presbyterian’s lot at Powelton Ave. and State Street.

Performing for the first time on the Jazz Fest stage are multi-genre musicians of the Kimpedro Nu Gruv Network; the talented drummers, poets and singers of Sistahs Layin’ Down Hands; and spirited jazz trumpeter Vince Turnbull, a major young talent. Also on the bill are: the popular jazz, R&B and soul-spirited Charlene Holloway Band; the richly-textured music of Glenn Bryan and Friends; spoken word artist, Dewayne Drummond; plus Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, and Unique Miracles Drill Team.

Artisans and a variety of specialty food trucks will be on site, along with family-friendly activities such as a moon bounce, face painting, storytelling, photo booth, digital pop-up computer lab, and more.

“The Festival is gaining in renown and popularity, as is Lancaster Avenue. One reason is the corridor’s rich arts and cultural history. Another is its incredible future as part of the Promise Zone,” says PEC President Kathy Desmond. “Last year we more than doubled Jazz Fest attendance to 3,000 and we expect even more this July.”

Sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Pennsylvania Council of the Arts (PCA), the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, William M. King Charitable Foundation, Penn Presbyterian Medical and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and a host of community and business partners. Talent for the Lancaster Avenue Jazz Fest is organized by the Producer’s Guild of Philadelphia.

Master Class on July 17

As part of their commitment to supporting Philadelphia’s jazz legacy, PEC and the Producer’s Guild are offering a Master Class facilitated by Sonny Fortune for aspiring young musicians. The workshop is in collaboration with the Philadelphia Clef Club and Performing Arts Center, and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. The class is FREE and open to the public. Reservations must be made in advance here.

More about the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival The goals of the Festival include: increasing awareness of the Lancaster Avenue commercial corridor, stimulating the local economy, energizing the community, bringing together partners, and highlighting the community’s rich cultural arts and educational assets.

About People’s Emergency Center

The People’s Emergency Center’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change in West Philadelphia. PEC offers more than 250 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology coursework. PEC seeks to change the life trajectory for the women and children who seek its services and inspire them to aspire to new heights. PEC community development programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents.

Contact Trish Downey for more information.

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