Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi Win Kimmel Center Jazz Residency. See Them Perform Tonight

Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi

Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi

Tonight, Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza will be jamming to the sounds of two of Philly’s most talked about jazz artists, Francois Zayas and Venissa Santi, as part of the Sittin’ In performance series. The free jam session starts at 8 p.m. and also features the beats of DJ PHSH.

But there’s another reason why music lovers should head on down to Broad Street this evening: Zayas and Santi will be named the winners of the Kimmel Center jazz residency, a prestigious honor for the two musicians.

“We worked with an amazing set of panelists on this decision,” says Kimmel Center’s Dafni Comerota. “Both artists will undergo the creative process of developing new work tied to workshops and work-in-progress performances later this season.”

Zayas, a native of Cuba, was a member of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba for ten years, where he collaborated with a wide variety of hip-hop, jazz, and rock bands. In 2006, he established himself in the United States, and is currently a resident of Philadelphia. You can check out some of his Soundcloud selections here.

Santi, a Philadelphian herself, recently released her newest album, Big Stuff, a project she began back at the Kimmel Center in 2011. A former student of the University of the Arts, Santi’s music is deeply influenced by her four trips to Cuba, and was the 2008 recipient of the Pew Fellowship for folk and traditional arts.

Guests are invited to join the free festivities at the Kimmel this evening, where the bar will serve cocktails by Jose Garces. You can use hashtag #whoissittinin to chat about the event on social media. For more information, visit the event’s website here.