Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia Comin' Home Debut at the Kimmel Center w. Bill Cosby Emcee and All Star Line-Up, January 7

DECEMBER 17, 2013

Bill Cosby Emcees All Star Line-Up w. Wynton Marsalis, and Philly’s Own Terell Stafford, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker and more!


Philadelphia is the birthplace of great jazz musicians.  Kimmel Center Presents now proudly presents the newly minted Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia with a debut performance in Verizon Hall on Tuesday, January 7 at 7:30 p.m. that serves as the Grand Gala Fundraising Concert.


Under the artistic direction of Philly renowned trumpeter Terell Stafford and founding director Deena Adler, the long awaited Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) kick-off concert features an all-star line-up of national and Philly home grown musical talent including the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker, Odean Pope, Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes and Tony Williams. Emceeing an extraordinary musical evening is the Dean of Philadelphia jazz, Mr. Bill Cosby.

The gala fundraising concert supports the growth and establishment of the 17-member stellar ensemble’s formation in Philadelphia celebrating Philly’s Jazz musical legacies and more.  "I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to present Philadelphia Jazz in its rich tradition at its finest," says Stafford.


Tickets are available for $35 to $150 and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce streets (open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).


Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP) is dedicated to presenting the highest quality jazz to the greatest number of people designed to preserve, represent and continue Philadelphia's unique, rich jazz sound and tradition. JOP aims to become the face of Philadelphia jazz, establishing the city as a nationally and internationally recognized destination for jazz performance. JOP is dedicated to honoring, presenting and continuing Philadelphia's unparalleled jazz legacy through performance and education.

In addition to embodying Philadelphia's vital jazz legacy with energetic jazz performances, both locally and outside of their home city, the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia will provide an essential educational component as part of its mission. As director of jazz studies in the Boyer College of Music, Terell Stafford offers a synergy with Temple University that intends to branch out to younger Philadelphia students.


A national treasure in his ability to perform and touch the hearts of many for over five decades, Bill Cosby is a legendary comedian, actor and musician. Born in Philadelphia, he rose to prominence in the ‘60s with stand-up acts and best-selling comedy albums, winning eight Gold Records, five Platinum records and five Grammy® Awards from TV’s I Spy breaking the racial barrier in TV dramatic series as the first co-starring African-American male to his prominent role in the hugely popular family sitcom, The Cosby Show.  He recently performed his first TV standup special in 30 years, Bill Cosby: Far From Finished, on Comedy Central on November 23, 2013. Cosby is also a passionate musician best known as a jazz drummer, and can be seen playing bass guitar.  To date, he has released a total of 15 albums, with Keep Standing (2010) being his most recent. He has collaborated with Quincy Jones, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis, Jr., among many others including Bootsie Barnes, part of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia line-up.  Cosby has hosted the Los Angeles Playboy Jazz Festival since 1979.


Terell Stafford is the artistic director of Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and director of jazz studies and chair of instrumental studies at Temple University, where he has been a recipient of the university's “Creative Achievement Award.”   He has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Known for being a gifted and versatile player with a voice all his own, Stafford combines lyricism and a deep love of melody with a spirited, adventurous edge. In 1988, Stafford had the good fortune to meet and receive advice from Wynton Marsalis who suggested that Stafford study with Dr. William Fielder at Rutgers University. During his time at Rutgers, Stafford was invited to join Bobby Watson’s group, Horizon.


Over the next five years, Stafford was able to balance his offstage education with the incredible knowledge and experience he gained from performing alongside Watson, co-leader Victor Lewis and Shirley Scott. Stafford credits this time with teaching him to be an effective arranger, a composer, and a bandleader, all things that Bobby Watson himself learned from his time with the late Art Blakey while performing with the Jazz Messengers. Stafford’s time with Horizon led to his joining McCoy Tyner’s Latin All-Star Band, which featured some of the best Latin jazz players.


Since the mid-1990’s Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, the Kenny Barron Sextet, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, the Jon Faddis Orchestra. Currently he is a member of the Grammy® Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (Grammy® 2009, Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard), as well as a member of the Grammy® nominated Clayton Brothers Quintet (for Best Instrumental Composition), and the Frank Wess Quintet. Stafford has recorded six albums as a leader with his debut album in 1995 entitled Time to Let Go (Candid).


Throughout his storied career, Wynton Marsalis has claimed the titles of musician, composer, bandleader, educator, and leading advocate of American culture. He is frequently attributed with inspiring a renewed interest in and appreciation for jazz throughout the world. Born in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, Marsalis displayed extraordinary musical skill at an early age.  Marsalis is a nine-time Grammy® Award winner, and the only artist ever to be honored with the award for work in both the jazz and classical categories. He is also the first jazz musician to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording of Blood on the Fields. In his classical career, Marsalis has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, English Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and London’s Royal Philharmonic. In the world of jazz, he is noted for working across the full spectrum of the genre, performing and composing for quartets and big bands, chamber music ensembles, symphony orchestras, and tap dance and ballet performances.


The Heath Brothers—individually and collectively—have been an underappreciated Philadelphia treasure—so hearing even two-thirds of their masterful jazz legacy is reason to celebrate.  Jimmy Heath is the middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath, bass; and Tootie Heath, drums); back around 1945, their basement was the center of action, with Jimmy Heath’s band playing his charts and those by Tadd Dameron. Famed guests like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Coleman Hawkins stopped by when in town; though legends mention the additional lure of mom Arelithia’s cooking. Jimmy Heath, known widely as “Little Bird” because of his diminutive size and great post-bebop chops, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1949, learning arranging from masters as John Lewis and Dameron. His first chart was “Mean To Me” for Gil Fuller, yet he had to wait 43 years for his first big-band album, the stirring Little Man, Big Band in 1992. Dropping the alto saxophone for tenor, and adding soprano and flute in later years, Jimmy also became one of the top arrangers around, writing for Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Blakey, Kenny Dorham and Gil Evans, while  producing  string of jazz classics: “C.T.A.,” “Gingerbread Boy” and “Gemini” among them. 

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Cheltenham, Pa., Randy Brecker has been shaping the sound of jazz to include R&B and rock influences for more than three decades. He has appeared on hundreds of albums with a list of Who's Who in jazz and pop, including James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan, among many others. Most recently, Brecker received a Grammy® Award nomination for his Latin jazz recording, Randy in Brasil (2008). He kicked off his career with the cutting-edge jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears, contributing to their 1968 debut, Child is Father to the Man. Brecker joined the Horace Silver Quintet, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and fusion group Dreams, among others, before forming the Brecker Brothers in 1975. The Brecker Brothers became a band of immeasurable influence and impact, garnering critical acclaim and numerous Grammy® Award nominations. The brothers became the first international contemporary jazz group to perform in mainland China, including sold out shows in Beijing and Shanghai. In 2007, the album Some Skunk Funk, which featured Germany's WDR Big Band, received the Grammy® Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

Philadelphia founding father of jazz saxophone, composer, arranger and educator, Odean Pope “tenor terror” (Jazz Times, 6/06) who is solidly grounded by marbleized harmonies and tones. A musician’s musician, Odean attracts some of the most exciting musical minds to collaborate with him, as on his upcoming CD, “Odean’s List:” The roster includes James Carter, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Terell Stafford, Walter Blanding, David Weiss, Lee Smith and George Burton. member of the Max Roach Quartet for more than two decades, Odean has performed and recorded with some of the world’s greatest jazz artists.

Master jazz pianist Philly native and nine time Grammy® nominated Kenny Barron consistently wins the jazz critics and readers polls, including Downbeat, Jazz Times and Jazziz magazines. After freelancing in New York with Roy Hanes, Lee Morgan and James Moody, Barron was hired by Dizzie Gillespie in 1962 where Barron developed an appreciation for Latin and Caribbean rhythms. His Grammy® nominations began in 1992 with People Time, an outstanding duet with Stan Getz followed by the Brazilian influenced Sambao and most recently Freefall in 2002. Additionally, Spirit Song, Night and the City and Wanton Spirit received double Grammy® nominations for album and solo performance.

The early seventies found Kenny Barron working with Yusef Lateef, a key influence in his art for improvisation. He has recorded over 40 albums, the first of which was Sunset to Dawn in 1974 as a band leader. Barron has worked with numerous artists including Ben Riley and Charlie Rouse, Throughout the 80s Barron collaborated with the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, touring with his quartet and recording several legendary albums including Anniversary, Serenity, and the Grammy® nominated People Time. In the 80’s Barron co-founded Sphere with Buster Williams, Ben Riley and Charlie Rouse, focusing on the music of Thelonious Monk and original compositions with recordings released such as Four For All and Bird Songs.


Philly native tenor saxophonist Bootsie Barnes is known as “the man with the ‘Tenor Touch,’” (Jazz Times) because of his dynamic playing style. Bootsie can be heard as a sideman on many, many recordings, he has released one vinyl album and three CD’s as a leader, Been Here All Along, You Leave Me Breathless, Hello and  Boppin' Round the Center. He began playing saxophone at age 19, joining classmates Lex Humphries, Bill Cosby, Al “Tootie” Heath, bassist “Spanky” De Brest, trumpeter Lee Morgan, and a host of Philadelphia giants who went on to help shape jazz music.  His biggest influences in music were his father, trumpeter Bill Doggett’s 16 piece big band, and his cousin Jimmy Hamilton, saxophonist and star clarinetist of Duke Ellington’s band for 26 years.  A significant accomplishment for Bootsie was being elected the Youngest ever Assistant Secretary of Philadelphia’s only Black Local #274 American Federation of Musicians where he served from 1969-1971.  This organization was a forerunner of today's Clef Club of the Performing Arts, which was founded by the Late Former President of Local #274, Jimmy Adams. Bootsie has toured with great drummers  such as 'Philly Joe Jones' & Mickey Roker and has performed with great organists Richard "Rick" Waters, Herb Nix, Baby Joe Johnson, Milt Buckner, Charles Earland, Trudy Pitts, Poppa John and Joey DeFrancesco, the "Boss" Jimmy Smith, and many others.

Net proceeds benefit the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia under the fiscal sponsorship of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia a non-profit 501-c-3.

The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia is a project of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia .

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