Sorry, Jazz Is Not Dead


Trombonist Ernest Stuart, founder of the Center City Jazz Festival. Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

It wasn’t so long ago that this very magazine asked whether jazz was on life support in Philadelphia. But several key players have injected much-needed energy into the mix, among them trombonist Ernest Stuart, who launches his third Center City Jazz Festival this month on April 19th.

Sixteen acts will perform in one day at Chris’, Time, Fergie’s and Milkboy, with homegrown talent like drummer Justin Faulkner and trumpeter Tim Warfield joining sultry blues import Miss Ida Blue and improv supergroup Thumbscrew — both of New York. “This year is my dream festival,” says Stuart, 30, who points out that unlike other cities’ “jazz” festivals, his really is all about jazz. (Take note, New Orleans.) “Of any festival that I could imagine, I think I nailed it this year.”

The Center City Jazz Festival takes place in various venues around the city Saturday, April 19th. Here’s the full schedule.

Fergie’s Pub

  • 1:00-2:00: Rhenda Fearrington
  • 2:30-3:30: Mike Kennedy
  • 4:00-5:00: Thumbscrew ft. Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek
  • 5:30-6:30: John Raymond & The Roots Trio w/ Gilad Hekselman, Eric Doob

MilkBoy Philly

  • 1:15-2:15: Peter Gaudioso
  • 2:45-3:45: Giovana Robinson
  • 4:15-5:15: Justin Faulkner
  • 5:45-6:45: Steve Coleman and Five Elements

Chris’ Jazz Cafe

  • 1:30-2:30: Kimmel Center’s Creative Music Program
  • 3:00-4:00: Tivon Pennicott
  • 4:30-5:30: Joanna Pascale
  • 6:00-7:00: Tim Warfield Jr. Quartet

TIME Restaurant

  • 1:45-2:45: Charles Washington
  • 3:15-4:15: Miss Ida Blue ft. members of the Boardwalk Empire Orchestra, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
  • 4:45-5:45: Stacy Dillard
  • 6:15-7:15: Trio Up ft. Rick Tate, Nimrod Speaks & Ronnie Burrage

For tickets go here.