The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Holiday Celebration! | The Philly Pops
 

The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Holiday Celebration!

Terell Stafford, Conductor

Perelman Theater

300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
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14 December 2019
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Sat, Dec 14, 2019
8PM
8PM
Featuring

Randy Brecker, trumpet

Jeff Hamilton, drummer

The Philly POPS’ Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of POPS Artistic Director for Jazz Terell Stafford, performs Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s The Nutcracker: Suite in a one-night-only show, The Harlem Nutcracker. This show also includes star turns from renowned jazz-fusion trumpet player Randy Brecker and big-band drummer Jeff Hamilton. This is the jazz orchestra’s sixth annual presentation of The Harlem Nutcracker, a tradition started in honor of the great saxophonist, Jimmy Heath.

Guest Artists

Randy Brecker, trumpet

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Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.

Born in 1945 in Philadelphia to a musical family, Randy's musical talent was nurtured from an early age. He attended Indiana University from 1963-66 studying with Bill Adam, David Baker and Jerry Coker and later moved to New York where he landed gigs with such prominent bands as Clark Terry's Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson Big Band and the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

In 1967, Randy ventured into jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, but left to join the Horace Silver Quintet. He recorded his first solo album, 'Score', in 1968, featuring a young, then unknown 19 year-old tenor saxophonist named Michael Brecker.

After Horace Silver, Randy joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group 'Dreams'. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums: 'Dreams' and 'Imagine My Surprise' - now collector's items - for Columbia Records before they disbanded in 1971.

In the early 1970s, Randy performed live with many prominent artists including Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House, Stevie Wonder and Billy Cobham. He also recorded several classic albums with his brother under the leadership of the great pianist/composer Hal Galper.

By 1975, Randy and Michael were ready to front their own group, the Brecker Brothers Band. A band of immeasurable impact and influence, they released six albums on Arista and garnered seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981. Their eponymous first record, which Randy wrote, arranged and produced, featured his now classic composition “Some Skunk Funk.”

In 1992, exactly ten years after they parted ways to pursue solo careers, Randy and Michael reunited for a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording, 'The Return of the Brecker Brothers'. The follow-up, 1994’s ‘Out of the Loop,’ was a double- Grammy winner.

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In 1997, ‘Into the Sun’ (Concord), a recording featuring Randy’s impressions of Brazil, garnered Randy his first Grammy as a solo artist.

In 2001, Randy released ‘Hangin’ in the City’ (ESC), a solo project which introduced his alter-ego Randroid, a skirt chasing, cab driving ne’er do well, with lyrics and vocals by Randroid himself. This CD was especially well received in Europe, where Randy toured extensively with his own line-up.

Randy’s next CD for ESC Records, '34th n' Lex,’ won him his third Grammy for 'Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ in 2003. In May of that year he toured Europe with his Quintet in support of the CD, and in the summer went back to Europe yet again with the Randy Brecker/ Bill Evans Soulbop Band.

The summer of 2003 culminated in the special headline appearance in Japan at the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival of the reunited Brecker Brothers.
2004 saw Randy touring Europe extensively as co-leader (with Bill Evans) of the band Soulbop. The WDR Big Band also celebrated Randy and his music that year in a performance at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest. The date was of special significance to Randy as it was the last time he played with his brother, who took ill shortly thereafter with a rare form of leukemia known as MDS.

In 2005, with Mike unable to travel to Russia for Brecker Brothers gigs booked there, Randy’s wife Ada sat in for the first time. Randy’s active schedule continued apace with the Randy Brecker Band performing throughout Eastern Europe and across the globe.

In 2007, Randy was awarded his fourth Grammy for "Randy Brecker Live with the WDR Big Band” (Telarc/BHM), the live recording (also available in DVD format) of his performance with Michael at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest in 2004. Tragically, Michael passed away that same year on Jan 13th.

2007 also saw the release of a 2 CD set of live recordings of the band ‘Soulbop’ (BHM) featuring Dave Kikoski, Victor Bailey, Steve Smith or Rodney Holmes and the late great Hiram Bullock.

Randy returned to his long-time love of Brazilian music in 2008 for the album 'Randy in Brazil,' which was recorded in Sao Paulo with a full complement of great Brazilian musicians and released on Summit Records. Chosen one of the top 10 CDs of 2008 by AllAboutJazz.com, the CD won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,” bringing his Grammy total to five.

A “Tribute to the Brecker Brothers” featuring Randy and recorded live at the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival in Japan with Yoichi Murata’s Solid Brass & Big Band was released by JVC Victor in Japan in late 2008.

And in 2009, Randy’s roots were celebrated with the release of ‘Jazz Suite Tykocin,’ a project initiated and conceived by the Polish pianist and composer Wlodek Pawlik, featuring Randy as a soloist with members of the Bialystok Philharmonic. Tykocin is the

area in Poland where Randy’s ancestors (mother’s maiden name: Tecosky) hail from, a fact that Pawlik discovered while helping to search for a bone marrow donor for Michael. 2011 saw the release of ‘The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Randy Brecker with the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra,’ which garnered 4 Grammy nominations and enjoyed enthusiastic critical acclaim. And in 2012, Sony Legacy recaptured history with the long-awaited boxed set, “The Brecker Brothers – The Complete Arista Albums Collection.”

A Brecker Brothers Band Reunion tour of European festivals in the summer of 2013 in support of Randy’s newest project, Randy Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, re-introduced the familiar faces of Brecker Brothers Band members from the past and their special brand of music to sell-out crowds.

A dual-disc release, Randy’s newest project will be released on September 25th, 2013 on Piloo Records. Randy Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion features a live DVD recorded at the Blue Note in NYC bundled with a new 11-song studio recording featuring members of the Brecker Brothers bands from throughout the years including Dave Sanborn, Mike Stern, Will Lee, and Dave Weckl. George Whitty is back in the production and keyboard chair, and Randy’s Italian wife Ada Rovatti is in the ‘hot saxophone’ seat, keeping it in the family on tenor and soprano saxophone. The new dual-disc recording will be released in North America by Magenta/E-One, in Europe by Moosicus Records in November and in Japan by JVC/Victor.

A long time in the making, this project is very close to Randy Brecker’s heart. It is dedicated to his brother, Michael, and other departed Brecker Brothers Band members.

As a composer, performer and in-demand Yamaha clinician, Randy Brecker continues to influence and inspire young musicians around the world.

Jeff Hamilton, drummer

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Originality is what versatile drummer Jeff Hamilton brings to the groups he performs with and is one of the reasons why he is constantly in demand, whether he is recording or performing with his trio, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, the Clayton Brothers or co-leading the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Jeff’s recording, It’s Hamilton Time (Lake Street Records), received enormous airplay while reaching #5 on the Gavin national jazz radio chart. His trio’s second release, Jeff Hamilton Trio-LIVE! (MONS) was nominated by critics for best jazz recording in Germany in 1997. The trio’s second MONS release was entitled, Hands On. Hamilton House-Live at Steamers (MONS) was the trio’s 2000 release. As well as recording and performing throughout the world, Jeff also teaches, arranges and composes.

Jeff has received rave reviews for his dynamic drumming. David Badham of Jazz Journal International stated in his review of the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra’s release, Heart and Soul (Capri): “This is one of the finest modern big band issues I’ve heard…This is undoubtedly due to Jeff Hamilton, a most driving and technically accomplished drummer.” Jeff is equally at home in smaller formats. He is an integral part of the Clayton Brothers and Herb Wong stated in his review of their release, The Music (Capri), in JazzTimes: “Always evident is…the colorful work of the rhythm section featuring…the sensitivity and sizzle of Jeff Hamilton’s seasoned drums.” Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Timesdescribed Jeff and his work with Oscar Peterson as “the Los Angeles-based drummer whose intelligent backing and spirited solo work met Peterson’s customarily high standards…” In his review of he Ray Brown Trio in the Denver Post, Jeff Bradley stated that Jeff “brought the crowd to its feet with his amazing hand-drumming, soft and understated yet as riveting and rewarding as any drum solo you’ve heard.”

Born in Richmond, Indiana, Jeff grew up listening to his parent’s big band records and at the age of eight began playing drums along with Oscar Peterson records. He attended Indiana University and later studied with John Von Ohlen. Jeff was influenced by Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, “Philly” Joe Jones and Shelly Manne. In 1974, he got his first big break playing with the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He then joined Lionel Hampton’s Band until 1975 when he, along with bassist John Clayton, became members of the Monty Alexander Trio. He attained a childhood goal in 1977 when he joined Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd, with whom he made several recordings. In 1978, he was offered the position vacated by Shelly Manne in the L.A.4 with Ray Brown, Bud Shank and Laurindo Almeida. He recorded six records with the L.A.4, some of which featured his own arrangements and compositions. From 1983 to 1987, Jeff performed with Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, Rosemary Clooney and Monty Alexander. Jeff began his association with the Ray Brown Trio in 1988 and left in March 1995 to concentrate on his own trio. From 1999-2001, the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra was named the in-residence ensemble for the Hollywood Bowl Jazz series. The Los Angeles Jazz Society named Jeff and his musical partner, John Clayton, musicians of the year for 2006. A banquet in their honor was held at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown Hotel. Click here for pictures from the event. Jeff is currently touring with his own Trio, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Diana Krall.

In addition to his many recordings with Ray Brown, Jeff has been on nearly 200 recordings with artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, John Pizzarelli, Benny Carter, Lalo Schifrin, George Shearing, Dr. John, Clark Terry, Gene Harris, Toshiko Akioshi, Scott Hamilton, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Keely Smith, Bill Holman, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and Mark Murphy. Jeff is a frequent guest of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. He also appeared in Natalie Cole’s Great Performances PBS special, Unforgettable and an Oscar Peterson documentary, Life In The Key Of Oscar.