By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The first annual Philadelphia United Jazz Festival kicks off today. The nine day event has ties to the West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Fest cancelled last year.
Bassist Warren Oree co-produced the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival with partner Graziella Dinuzzo for eight years. But when the festival was cancelled in 2012, he began looking for a way to rebuild the Philadelphia jazz scene.
Listen to Cherri Gregg’s interview with Warren Oree in this CBS Philly podcast:
“It is ridiculous that we don’t have a serious, big jazz festival here,” says Oree, so many of the jazz greats like Coltrane came out of Philly.”
So Oree’s Lifeline Music Coalition secured sponsors like PECO and CitiBank and created the Philadelphia United Jazz Festival and Celebration, which includes a fashion show, musical performances and workshops beginning September 13. It culminates with a party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then a weekend of nearly two dozen performances at the Philadelphia Clef Club.
“We’ve got the Clef Club band, we have Julian Cesly, a great alto sax player. We’ve got Abdur Rashid on piano and we’ve got the Sun Ra Arksetra, who are beyond global,” says Oree. “They are inter-planetary”
He says the majority of the artists are from Philadelphia.
“Why should we fly in all these guys from everywhere else when we have so much talent right here?”
Weekday events are free, with tickets for next Saturday and Sunday running $25 a day. For a full line up of the festival or to buy tickets, go to PhilaUnitedJazzFestival.com.