By Lauren Lipton

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  It’s smooth jazz with a Philly twist.  The band is called Philayva (pronounced “flay-vah”), and that unusual spelling gives you a clue to what makes it special.

All the band members are local and have been playing for quite a while.   Bob Shields, the guitarist, is a longtime educator and school official.  He, along with bassist Virgil Walker (a current federal prosecutor) and keyboardist Dan Austin (a former General Electric technology executive), got together to form the group.

“Our repetoire is varied,” Shields tells Positively Philadelphia.  “We  play a lot of different things, but what makes us different is the understanding, recognition,  acknowledment, and celebration  of the Philadelphia region’s  contribution to smooth jazz and R & B.”

And they are really  excited about playing in the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival on Saturday, July 20th, at Saunders Park Greene, 39th and Lancaster.

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“We have been involved  in the jazz festival through the People’s Emergency Center, and this is part of their revitalization of Lancaster Avenue as an arts and cultural destination [see related story].  So we are very happy to be a  part of that,” Shields says.

They join a number of other acts and attractions.  And it’s free!


And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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